Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #794 The Fires This Time: Update on the Ukraine

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

Lis­ten: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­ial not included in the orig­i­nal broadcast.

Swo­boda leader Oleh Tiahanybok

Intro­duc­tion: Bring­ing our cov­er­age of the cri­sis in Ukraine up to date, we begin by detail­ing some of the polit­i­cal and eco­nomic dynam­ics sur­round­ing the state­ment that Ukraine has 25% of the world’s proven nat­ural gas reserves. CORRECTION: The CNBC story con­tain­ing this state­ment appears to be in error. Ukraine does indeed have huge nat­ural gas deposits, but they do not appear to be a quar­ter of the world’s reserves. The deposits may be roughly a quar­ter of the nat­ural gas deposits in Europe. 

(We have cov­ered the ascen­sion of the OUN/B heirs in the Ukraine in a num­ber of programs: FTR ‘s 777778779780781782, 783784.)

In addi­tion to the recruit­ment of well-connected Amer­i­cans to assist in the devel­op­ment of Ukrain­ian fos­sil fuel resources, the cri­sis is spurring action by the EU aimed at coun­ter­ing Euro­pean depen­dence on Russ­ian nat­ural gas.

Not­ing that the pro­vi­sional gov­ern­ment there is directly evolved from the OUN/B Ukrain­ian Nazi admin­is­tra­tion and mil­i­tary appa­ra­tus of World War II, we have observed that the utter per­ver­sion of polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal real­ity by our media is wor­thy of George Orwell’s 1984.

In a post on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, Robert Parry high­lights the Orwellian nature of our media’s delib­er­ate and fun­da­men­tal mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sit­u­a­tion there.

Roman Zvarych, Yaroslav Stetsko’s sec­re­tary in the ’80’s and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under Vik­tor Yuschenko

In addi­tion, Parry notes the inclu­sion of ele­ments like Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­boda (whom he jointly char­ac­ter­izes under the rubric neo-Nazis) into the national mil­i­tas being sent to East­ern Ukraine as “anti-terrorist ” forces.

As Parry cor­rectly notes, “anti-terrorist” cadres have served as death squads in past U.S.-supported oop­er­a­tions. We have noted in pro­grams cited above (par­tic­u­larly 780 and 781) that Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­boda spe­cial­ize in street fight­ing and provocation.

Not sur­pris­ingly, some of the Nazi cadre recruited into the Ukrain­ian national secu­rity forces have burned peo­ple alive in both Odessa and Mar­i­opol. There are indi­ca­tions that ele­ments of both Amer­i­can and Ger­man intel­li­gence may be assist­ing the Ukrain­ian neo-Nazi forces.

Ger­man media are func­tion­ing in a man­ner sim­i­lar to their Amer­i­can coun­ter­parts, pro­vid­ing some­thing of a Trans-Atlantic Min­istry of Truth.

Pro­gram High­lights Include:

  • Swoboda’s street fight­ing cadre “Com­bat 14″ and their ide­o­log­i­cal affil­i­a­tion with David Lane of The Order.
  • The Rea­gan administration’s hir­ing of OUN/B pro­pa­gan­dists to broad­cast on Radio Lib­erty in the 1980’s.
  • The mis­re­port­ing of a Ger­man “OSCE” mis­sion, delib­er­ately ignor­ing the group’s oper­a­tions on behalf of the Bundeswehr.
  • The appar­ent involve­ment of Amer­i­can mer­ce­nar­ies in the vio­lence in the East­ern Ukraine.
  • The Ukraine’s issue of 1 bil­lion dol­lars worth of bonds, guar­an­teed by the U.S. taxpayer.
  • Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yuschenko’s appoint­ment of a New York-based OUN/B sup­porter and Yaroslav Stetsko’s for­mer sec­re­tary–Roman Zvarych [also Zavrych]–to be Min­is­ter of Justice.
  • New Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko’s recre­ation of the old Yuschenko polit­i­cal team, includ­ing for­mer Yuschenko Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Roman Svarych.

1a. Apply­ing the time-honored adage of fol­low­ing the money works in Ukraine. We have noted in posts and pro­grams that Ukraine has 25% of the world’s proven nat­ural gas reserves. The East­ern part of the coun­try is richer in nat­ural gas than the West.

A map at right shows the dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of gas fields in the east­ern half of Ukraine. In the hotly-contested area around Slo­viansk, Shell has a con­tract to develop shale gas.

Exem­pli­fy­ing the very crony cap­i­tal­ism that the U.S. decries when it occurs else­where (includ­ing Rus­sia), Burisma–a Cyprus-based com­pany with sig­nif­i­cant invest­ments in Ukrain­ian nat­ural gas fields –has hired Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s son R. Hunter Biden. The company’s board of direc­tors fea­tures Devon Archer, the for­mer col­lege room­mate of Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry’s Step­son Christo­pher Heinz (of the wealthy food-empire fam­ily. Put THAT on your ham­burger!) Archer was national co-finance chair of Kerry’s Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 2004. Ukraine has issued $1 bil­lion bonds, backed by the U.S. tax­payer. The bonds were guar­an­teed through the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment, which was involved with chan­nel­ing money to finance the coup in Ukraine.

“Why Did an Energy Firm with Big Assets in Ukraine Hire Joe Biden’s Son?” by Olivia Knox and Mered­ith Shiner; Yahoo News; 5/14/2014.

In the span of a few weeks, an energy firm little-known inside the United States added two mem­bers to its board of direc­tors — scor­ing con­nec­tions to Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden in the bargain.

On April 22, Cyprus-based Burisma announced that financier Devon Archer had joined its board. Archer, who shared a room in col­lege with Kerry’s step­son, Christo­pher Heinz, served as national finance co-chair for the for­mer senator’s 2004 pres­i­den­tial campaign.

Then, on Mon­day, the firm announced that Biden’s younger son, R. Hunter Biden, would join the board of direc­tors.

Why would the com­pany, which bills itself as Ukraine’s largest pri­vate gas pro­ducer, need such pow­er­ful friends in Washington?

The answer might be the company’s hold­ings in Ukraine. They include, accord­ing to the firm’s web­site, per­mits to explore in the Dnieper-Donets Basin in the country’s east­ern regions, home to an armed pro-Russian sep­a­ratist move­ment. They also include per­mits to explore in the Azov-Kuban Basin of the strate­gic Crimean penin­sula, annexed ear­lier this year by Moscow. . . .

1b. The EU is pres­sur­ing Obama and the U.S. to expand frack­ing and off­shore drilling, in order to per­mit more fos­sil fuel exports to Europe. The hope is that this will free Europe up from energy depen­dence on Russia.

“Read The Secret Trade Memo Call­ing For More Frack­ing and Off­shore Drilling” by Zach Carter and Kate Shep­pard; The Huff­in­g­ton Post; 5/19/2014.

The Euro­pean Union is press­ing the Obama admin­is­tra­tion to expand U.S. frack­ing, off­shore oil drilling and nat­ural gas explo­ration under the terms of a secret nego­ti­a­tion textobtained by The Huff­in­g­ton Post.

The con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­ment is an early draft of energy poli­cies that EU nego­tia­tors hope to see adopted under the Transat­lantic Trade and Invest­ment Part­ner­ship (TTIP) trade deal, which is cur­rently being nego­ti­ated. The text was shared with Amer­i­can offi­cials in Sep­tem­ber. The Office of the U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive declined to com­ment on the doc­u­ment. . . .

. . . . There has also been an increas­ing push to loosen con­straints on nat­ural gas exports from the U.S. to Europe, par­tic­u­larly as the con­flict between Rus­sia and the Ukraine has grown, high­light­ing Europe’s depen­dency on Russ­ian energy. Although burn­ing nat­ural gas pro­duces lower emis­sions than oil or coal, the energy-intensive stor­age and ship­ping process — liq­ue­fy­ing the gas and then send­ing it in fuel-burning ves­sels — elim­i­nates many of its advan­tages. And crit­ics of gas say that increas­ing exports would only increase reliance on fos­sil fuels, rather than speed­ing the tran­si­tion to renew­ables. It would also likely increase energy prices in the U.S., although the effects of the deal would not come to fruition for several years.

Free trade agree­ments fre­quently bind all of their par­tic­i­pants to a spe­cific reg­u­la­tory regime, hin­der­ing the deploy­ment of future reg­u­la­tions in response to new prob­lems. Trade pacts are enforced by inter­na­tional courts, which can issue eco­nomic sanc­tions against coun­tries that vio­late the deals. The pro­posed EU lan­guage would run counter to exist­ing envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards that limit the devel­op­ment of the fos­sil fuel industry. . . .

1c. The cri­sis in Ukraine has prompted dis­cus­sion of an EU Energy Union.

Look what idea just got floated by Poland’s Prime Min­is­ter and pos­i­tively received by Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker: an EU Energy Union:

“UPDATE 1-Merkel Tells Putin Rus­sia Has not Done Enough to Ease Ukraine Cri­sis” by Alexan­dra Hud­son and Erik Kirschbaum; Reuters; 4/25/2014.

Germany’s Angela Merkel said on Fri­day that she had told Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin by tele­phone that Moscow had not done enough to urge sep­a­ratists in Ukraine to dis­arm, and that fur­ther sanc­tions against Rus­sia must be contemplated.

The Euro­pean Union and Group of Seven (G7) nations would con­sider sanc­tions “within the frame­work of the sec­ond stage of sanc­tions” she said at a news con­fer­ence in Berlin with Poland’s Prime Min­is­ter Don­ald Tusk, refer­ring to a three-stage scheme.

The sec­ond stage of sanc­tions com­prises over­seas asset freezes and visa bans on those Rus­sians and Ukraini­ans con­sid­ered respon­si­ble for the esca­la­tion. Dozens of indi­vid­u­als are already on the list. Stage three, under prepa­ra­tion, would involve trade and eco­nomic sanc­tions against Moscow.

...

Under the terms of the deal Rus­sia, the United States, Ukraine and the EU agreed to work to dis­arm ille­gal groups.

“Rus­sia has the power, or could have the power, to bring the sep­a­ratists on to a peace­ful path of dis­cus­sions about the con­sti­tu­tion and prepa­ra­tions for elec­tions, but such sig­nals are unfor­tu­nately lack­ing,” Merkel said.

Poland’s Tusk warned: “The cri­sis in Ukraine may become per­ma­nent, which could require a new east­ern pol­icy from Europe”. He added he could not imag­ine Europe stick­ing to a “business-as-usual” position.

Tusk has urged the EU to cre­ate an energy union to secure its gas sup­ply and weaken its cur­rent depen­dence on Russ­ian gas.

Jean-Claude Juncker, a can­di­date for Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent, was quoted by Pol­ish state agency PAP on Fri­day as say­ing that the energy union pro­posal was “an intel­li­gent and wise proposal”.

Merkel said she sup­ported the idea in prin­ci­ple but the details would need to be worked out and a joint mar­ket and joint struc­ture was necessary.

2. Ukraine has issued $1 bil­lion bonds, backed by the U.S. tax­payer. The bonds were guar­an­teed through the U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment, which was involved with chan­nel­ing money to finance the coup in Ukraine.

 “Ukraine Just Issued $1 Bil­lion Bonds Backed by The US Tax­payer” by Tyler Dur­den; zerohedge.com; 5/14/2014.

The bailout flood­gates are open and the US tax­payer is foot­ing the bill once again — whether through IMF loans or more directly. Today saw Ukraine issue $1 Bil­lion 5-Year Notes at a stun­ningly low risk of only 28bps above US Trea­suries and dra­mat­i­cally cheaper than the cost of cap­i­tal in the pub­lic mar­kets (and from the IMF) which yield over 10%. The rea­son for the 1) low cost, and 2) actual abil­ity to raise debt... the bond is guar­an­teed by the US Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment and “assures full repay­ment of prin­ci­pal and inter­est” based on the full faith and credit of the US (Tax­payer). We assume Gazprom will be happy...

So why not pile into these bonds? 28 extra basis points for no appar­ent addi­tional credit risk... some liq­uid­ity risk but we are sure your friendly local cen­tral bank will enable you to swap them for infi­nitely rehy­poth­e­cat­able cash with no haircut...

They’re gonna need moar [sic]... (and this does not include Gazprom)

Oh and Ukraine says “thanks Amer­ica”... (as WSJ reports)

The $1 bil­lion loan guar­an­tee that (U.S. Agency for Inter­na­tional Devel­op­ment) will imple­ment will help the gov­ern­ment of Ukraine access cap­i­tal at rea­son­able rates and man­age the tran­si­tion to a pros­per­ous democ­racy,” Mark Feier­stein, assis­tant admin­is­tra­tor at USAID, said in April.

“The guar­an­tee assures investors of full repay­ment of prin­ci­pal and interest.”

The deal fol­lows sim­i­lar guar­an­tees pro­vided for bonds issued by Tunisia in 2012 and Jor­dan last year.

But - there is a catch...

Bank of Amer­ica Mer­rill Lynch said Tues­day that Ukraine’s bond­hold­ers could face losses if sep­a­ratists in the country’s south­east­ern regions suc­cess­fully gain independence.

The bank said a breakup of the coun­try could poten­tially force the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund to tear up Ukraine’s cur­rent $17 bil­lion aid pack­age and trig­ger a debt restruc­tur­ing pro­gram that would hit pri­vate investors. An IMF spokesper­son said the fund is mon­i­tor­ing the situation.

3. In FTR #781, we noted that when Vik­tor Yuschenko was pres­i­dent of the Ukraine (after the so-called Orange Rev­o­lu­tion), he insti­tuted an Orwellian re-write of his­tory, exhalt­ing the OUN/B as “anti-fascists” and heroes. At the time, Yuschenko was mar­ried to the for­mat Yka­te­rina Chu­machenko, an OUN/B offi­cial and Deputy Direc­tor of Pres­i­den­tial Liai­son under Ronald Reagan.

Yuschenko also appointed Roman Zavrych [also Zvarych], Yaroslav Stetsko’s for­mer sec­re­tary as Min­is­ter of Jus­tice. Zavrych, like the for­mer Ms. Chu­machenko was an American-based OUN/B dis­ci­ple. He was born in Yonkers, New York.

“Sci­en­tific Nation­al­ists”; german-foreign-policy.com; 5/1/2014.

. . . .In the 1980s, Yushchenko’s wife Kateryna had been active in Ukrain­ian right-wing emi­gré cir­cles. She had worked with Stet­sko as an assis­tant, and is a true believer of these nar­ra­tives. In 2005, Yushchenko had also appointed a New York Ban­derite (and Stetsko’s for­mer sec­re­tary), Roman Zavrych  [also Zvarych], to be Min­is­ter of Jus­tice. Zavrych was later fired for hav­ing lied about hav­ing a PhD from Colum­bia Uni­ver­sity. . . .

4. Not­ing that the pro­vi­sional gov­ern­ment there is directly evolved from the OUN/B Ukrain­ian Nazi admin­is­tra­tion and mil­i­tary appa­ra­tus of World War II, we have observed that the utter per­ver­sion of polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal real­ity by our media is wor­thy of George Orwell’s 1984.

In a post on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, Robert Parry high­lights the Orwellian nature of our media’s delib­er­ate and fun­da­men­tal mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sit­u­a­tion there.

In addi­tion, Parry notes the inclu­sion of ele­ments like Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­boda (whom he jointly char­ac­ter­izes under the rubric neo-Nazis) into the national mil­i­tas being sent to East­ern Ukraine as “anti-terrorist ” forces.

As Parry cor­rectly notes, “anti-terrorist” cadres have served as death squads in past U.S.-supported oop­er­a­tions. We have noted in pro­grams cited above (par­tic­u­larly 780 and 781) that Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­boda spe­cial­ize in street fight­ing and provocation.

This is a very dan­ger­ous brew. Swo­boda (whose leader is pic­tured above, right) and Pravy Sek­tor dom­i­nate the min­istries in Kiev.

“Ukraine, Through the US Look­ing Glass” by Robert Parry; Con­sor­tium News; 4/15/2014.

The act­ing pres­i­dent of the coup regime in Kiev announces that he is order­ing an “anti-terrorist” oper­a­tion against pro-Russian pro­test­ers in east­ern Ukraine, while his national secu­rity chief says he has dis­patched right-wing ultra­na­tion­al­ist fight­ers who spear­headed the Feb. 22 coup that ousted elected Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych.

On Tues­day, Andriy Paru­biy, head of the Ukrain­ian National Secu­rity Coun­cil [and mem­ber of OUN/B heir Swoboda–D.E.], went on Twit­ter to declare, “Reserve unit of National Guard formed #Maidan Self-defense vol­un­teers was sent to the front line this morn­ing.” Paru­biy was refer­ring to the neo-Nazi mili­tias that pro­vided the orga­nized mus­cle that over­threw Yanukovych, forc­ing him to flee for his life. Some of these mili­tias have since been incor­po­rated into secu­rity forces as “National Guard.”

Ukrain­ian Sec­re­tary for National Secu­rity Andriy Parubiy.

Paru­biy him­self is a well-known neo-Nazi, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991. The party blended rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism with neo-Nazi sym­bols. Paru­biy also formed a para­mil­i­tary spin­off, the Patri­ots of Ukraine, and defended the award­ing of the title, “Hero of Ukraine,” to World War II Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera, whose own para­mil­i­tary forces exter­mi­nated thou­sands of Jews and Poles in pur­suit of a racially pure Ukraine.

Dur­ing the months of protests aimed at over­throw­ing Yanukovych, Paru­biy became the com­man­dant of “Euro­maidan,” the name for the Kiev upris­ing, and – after the Feb. 22 coup – Paru­biy was one of four far-right Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists given con­trol of a min­istry, i.e. national security.

But the U.S. press has played down his role because his neo-Nazism con­flicts with Offi­cial Washington’s nar­ra­tive that the neo-Nazis played lit­tle or no role in the “rev­o­lu­tion.” Ref­er­ences to neo-Nazis in the “interim gov­ern­ment” are dis­missed as “Russ­ian propaganda.”

Yet there Paru­biy was on Tues­day brag­ging that some of his neo-Nazi storm troop­ers – renamed “National Guard” – were now being sicced on rebel­lious east­ern Ukraine as part of the Kiev government’s “anti-terrorist” operation.

The post-coup Pres­i­dent Olek­sandr Turchynov also warned that Ukraine was con­fronting a “colos­sal dan­ger,” but he insisted that the sup­pres­sion of the pro-Russian pro­test­ers would be treated as an “anti-terrorist” oper­a­tion and not as a “civil war.” Every­one should under­stand by now that “anti-terror” sug­gests extra­ju­di­cial killings, tor­ture and “counter-terror.”

Yet, with much of the Ukrain­ian mil­i­tary of dubi­ous loy­alty to the coup regime, the dis­patch of the neo-Nazi mili­tias from west­ern Ukraine’s Right Sek­tor and Svo­boda par­ties rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment. Not only do the Ukrain­ian neo-Nazis con­sider the eth­nic Rus­sians an alien pres­ence, but these right-wing mili­tias are orga­nized to wage street fight­ing as they did in the Feb­ru­ary uprising.

His­tor­i­cally, right-wing para­mil­i­taries have played cru­cial roles in “counter-terror” cam­paigns around the world. In Cen­tral Amer­ica in the 1980s, for instance, right-wing “death squads” did much of the dirty work for U.S.-backed mil­i­tary regimes as they crushed social protests and guer­rilla movements.

The merg­ing of the con­cept of “anti-terrorism” with right-wing para­mil­i­taries rep­re­sents a poten­tially fright­en­ing devel­op­ment for the peo­ple of east­ern Ukraine. And much of this infor­ma­tion – about Turchynov’s com­ments and Parubiy’s tweet – can be found in a New York Times’ dis­patch from Ukraine.

Whose Pro­pa­ganda?

How­ever, on the Times’ front page on Wednes­day was a bizarre story by David M. Her­szen­horn accus­ing the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment of engag­ing in a pro­pa­ganda war by mak­ing many of the same points that you could find – albeit with­out the use­ful con­text about Parubiy’s neo-Nazi back­ground – in the same newspaper.

In the arti­cle enti­tled “Rus­sia Is Quick To Bend Truth About Ukraine,” Her­szen­horn mocked Russ­ian Prime Min­is­ter Dmitri Medvedev for mak­ing a Face­book post­ing that “was bleak and full of dread,” includ­ing not­ing that “blood has been spilled in Ukraine again” and adding that “the threat of civil war looms.”

The Times arti­cle con­tin­ued, “He [Medvedev] pleaded with Ukraini­ans to decide their own future ‘with­out usurpers, nation­al­ists and ban­dits, with­out tanks or armored vehi­cles – and with­out secret vis­its by the C.I.A. direc­tor.’ And so began another day of blus­ter and hyper­bole, of the mis­in­for­ma­tion, exag­ger­a­tions, con­spir­acy the­o­ries, over­heated rhetoric and, occa­sion­ally, out­right lies about the polit­i­cal cri­sis in Ukraine that have emanated from the high­est ech­e­lons of the Krem­lin and rever­ber­ated on state-controlled Russ­ian tele­vi­sion, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.”

This argu­men­ta­tive “news” story spilled from the front page to the top half of an inside page, but Her­szen­horn never man­aged to men­tion that there was noth­ing false in what Medvedev said. Indeed, it was the much-maligned Russ­ian press that first reported the secret visit of CIA Direc­tor John Bren­nan to Kiev.

Though the White House has since con­firmed that report, Her­szen­horn cites Medvedev’s ref­er­ence to it in the con­text of “mis­in­for­ma­tion” and “con­spir­acy the­o­ries.” Nowhere in the long arti­cle does the Times inform its read­ers that, yes, the CIA direc­tor did make a secret visit to Ukraine last week­end. Pre­sum­ably, that real­ity has now dis­ap­peared into the great mem­ory hole along with the on-ground report­ing from Feb. 22 about the key role of the neo-Nazi militias.

The neo-Nazis them­selves have pretty much dis­ap­peared from Offi­cial Washington’s nar­ra­tive, which now usu­ally recounts the coup as sim­ply a case of months of protests fol­lowed by Yanukovych’s deci­sion to flee. Only occa­sion­ally, often buried deep in news arti­cles with the con­text removed, can you find admis­sions of how the neo-Nazis spear­headed the coup.

A Wounded Extremist

For instance, on April 6, the New York Times pub­lished a human-interest pro­file of a Ukrain­ian named Yuri Marchuk who was wounded in clashes around Kiev’s Maidan square in Feb­ru­ary. You have to read far into the story to learn that Marchuk was a Svo­boda leader from Lviv, which – if you did your own research – you would dis­cover is a neo-Nazi strong­hold where Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists hold torch-light parades in honor of Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Bandera.

With­out pro­vid­ing that con­text, the Times does men­tion that Lviv mil­i­tants plun­dered a gov­ern­ment weapons depot and dis­patched 600 mil­i­tants a day to do bat­tle in Kiev. Marchuk also described how these well-organized mil­i­tants, con­sist­ing of para­mil­i­tary brigades of 100 fight­ers each, launched the fate­ful attack against the police on Feb. 20, the bat­tle where Marchuk was wounded and where the death toll sud­denly spiked into scores of pro­test­ers and about a dozen police.

Marchuk later said he vis­ited his com­rades at the occu­pied City Hall. What the Times doesn’t men­tion is that City Hall was fes­tooned with Nazi ban­ners and even a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag as a trib­ute to white supremacy.

The Times touched on the incon­ve­nient truth of the neo-Nazis again on April 12 in an arti­cle about the mys­te­ri­ous death of neo-Nazi leader Olek­sandr Muzy­chko, who was killed dur­ing a shootout with police on March 24. The arti­cle quoted a local Right Sek­tor leader, Roman Koval, explain­ing the cru­cial role of his orga­ni­za­tion in car­ry­ing out the anti-Yanukovych coup.

“Ukraine’s Feb­ru­ary rev­o­lu­tion, said Mr. Koval, would never have hap­pened with­out Right Sec­tor and other mil­i­tant groups,” the Times wrote. Yet, that real­ity – though actu­ally reported in the New York Times – has now become “Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda,” accord­ing to the New York Times.

This upside-down Amer­i­can nar­ra­tive also ignores the well-documented inter­fer­ence of promi­nent U.S. offi­cials in stir­ring up the pro­test­ers in Kiev, which is located in the west­ern part of Ukraine and is thus more anti-Russian than east­ern Ukraine where many eth­nic Rus­sians live and where Yanukovych had his polit­i­cal base.

Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of State for Euro­pean Affairs Vic­to­ria Nuland was a cheer­leader for the upris­ing, remind­ing Ukrain­ian busi­ness lead­ers that the United States had invested $5 bil­lion in their “Euro­pean aspi­ra­tions,” dis­cussing who should replace Yanukovych (her choice, Arseniy Yat­senyuk became the new prime min­is­ter), and lit­er­ally pass­ing out cook­ies to the pro­test­ers in the Maidan. (Nuland is mar­ried to neo­con­ser­v­a­tive super­star Robert Kagan, a founder of the Project for the New Amer­i­can Century.)

Dur­ing the protests, neo­con Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, took the stage with lead­ers of Svo­boda – sur­rounded by ban­ners hon­or­ing Stepan Ban­dera – and urged on the pro­test­ers. Even before the demon­stra­tions began, promi­nent neo­con Carl Ger­sh­man, pres­i­dent of the U.S.-funded National Endow­ment for Democ­racy, had dubbed Ukraine “the biggest prize.” [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “What’s the Mat­ter with John Kerry?”]

Indeed, in my four-plus decades in jour­nal­ism, I have never seen a more thor­oughly biased and mis­lead­ing per­for­mance by the major U.S. news media. Even dur­ing the days of Ronald Rea­gan – when much of the government’s mod­ern pro­pa­ganda struc­ture was cre­ated – there was more inde­pen­dence in major news out­lets. There were media stam­pedes off the real­ity cliff dur­ing George H.W. Bush’s Per­sian Gulf War and George W. Bush’s Iraq War, both of which were marked by demon­stra­bly false claims that were read­ily swal­lowed by the big U.S. news outlets.

But there is some­thing utterly Orwellian in the cur­rent cov­er­age of the Ukraine cri­sis, includ­ing accus­ing oth­ers of “pro­pa­ganda” when their accounts – though surely not per­fect – are much more hon­est and more accu­rate than what the U.S. press corps has been producing.

There’s also the added risk that this lat­est fail­ure by the U.S. press corps is occur­ring on the bor­der of Rus­sia, a nuclear-armed state that – along with the United States – could exter­mi­nate all life on the planet. The biased U.S. news cov­er­age is now feed­ing into polit­i­cal demands to send U.S. mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine’s coup regime.

The casu­al­ness of this pro­pa­ganda – as it spreads across the U.S. media spec­trum from Fox News to MSNBC, from the Wash­ing­ton Post to the New York Times – is not just wretched jour­nal­ism but it is reck­less malfea­sance jeop­ar­diz­ing the lives of many Ukraini­ans and the future of the planet.

Pravy Sek­tor

5. Robert Parry has posted another use­ful story on the Ukrain­ian cri­sis. Not­ing the OUN/B her­itage of Swo­boda and Pravy Sek­tor in the cur­rent Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, he cor­re­lates that Nazi her­itage with the lethal fire­bomb­ing of pro-Russian demon­stra­tors in the Black Sea port city of Odessa.

Appar­ently per­pe­trated by a street-fighting con­tin­gent act­ing in accor­dance with the tac­ti­cal prin­ci­ples of both Pravy Sek­tor and Swo­boda, the fire­bomb­ing is rem­i­nis­cent of the mas­sacre of res­i­dents of the Pol­ish city of Huta Pien­acka by the Gali­cian Divi­sion (14th Waf­fen SS.)

As dis­cussed in FTR #781, the Yuschenko regime in the Ukraine that came to power through the so-called Orange Rev­o­lu­tion fun­da­men­tally re-wrote the his­tory of World War II in that part of Europe, under super­vi­sion of the Insti­tute of National Mem­ory, oper­ated by OUN/B activists. Deny­ing the respon­si­bil­ity for the Huta Pien­acka mas­sacre was an ele­ment of the revi­sion­ism crafted by the Ukrain­ian “Min­istry of Truth.”

In addi­tion, Parry notes an OUN/B involve­ment with the Rea­gan administration’s U.S. Infor­ma­tion Agency and Radio Lib­erty, col­or­ing broad­casts in the 1980’s in a pro-Nazi fashion.

In FTR #‘s 777778, we went into much greater depth, not­ing the evo­lu­tion of the OUN/B and the over­lap­ping Gehlen spy out­fit and Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. We chron­i­cled the CIA/OPC spon­sor­ship of OUN/B guerilla cadres formed by the Third Reich and per­pet­u­at­ing their com­bat into the early 1950’s. OUN/B ele­ments fig­ured in the assas­si­na­tion of JFK.

OUN/B evolved through their inclu­sion in the Cru­sade for Free­dom, and became an impor­tant ele­ment of the GOP and the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion. Along with other ele­ments of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, the OUN/B was cen­trally involved with the desta­bi­liza­tion of the Soviet Union and East­ern Europe through the Free Con­gress Foundation.

Yka­te­rina Chumachenko–a key OUN/B oper­a­tive and Deputy Direc­tor of Pub­lic Liai­son for Reagan–married Vik­tor Yuschenko, who presided over the revi­sion of Ukrain­ian World War II his­tory by OUN/B. As noted above, Roman Svarych served as the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice under Yuschenko. He had been Yaroslav Stetsko’s sec­re­tary in the early 1980’s. (Stet­sko was the head of the OUN/B Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tionist author­ity in Ukraine and headed the OUN/B after the assas­si­na­tion of Stephan Bandera.)

That is the sad, tragic back­ground to the cur­rent conflagration.

“Ukraine’s ‘Dr. Strangelove’ Real­ity” by Robert Parry; Consortiumnews.com; 5/5/2014.

As much as the coup regime in Ukraine and its sup­port­ers want to project an image of West­ern mod­er­a­tion, there is a “Dr. Strangelove” ele­ment that can’t stop the Nazism from pop­ping up from time to time, like when the Peter Sell­ers char­ac­ter in the clas­sic movie can’t keep his right arm from mak­ing a “Heil Hitler” salute.

This bru­tal Nazism sur­faced again on Fri­day when right-wing toughs in Odessa attacked an encamp­ment of eth­nic Russ­ian pro­test­ers dri­ving them into a trade union build­ing which was then set on fire with Molo­tov cock­tails. As the build­ing was engulfed in flames, some peo­ple who tried to flee were chased and beaten, while those trapped inside heard the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists liken them to black-and-red-striped potato bee­tles called Col­orados, because those col­ors are used in pro-Russian ribbons.

“Burn, Col­orado, burn” went the chant.

As the fire wors­ened, those dying inside were ser­e­naded with the taunt­ing singing of the Ukrain­ian national anthem. The build­ing also was spray-painted with Swastika-like sym­bols and graf­fiti read­ing “Gali­cian SS,” a ref­er­ence to the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist army that fought along­side the Ger­man Nazi SS in World War II, killing Rus­sians on the east­ern front.

The death by fire of dozens of peo­ple in Odessa recalled a World War II inci­dent in 1944 when ele­ments of a Gali­cian SS police reg­i­ment took part in the mas­sacre of the Pol­ish vil­lage of Huta Pieni­acka, which had been a refuge for Jews and was pro­tected by Russ­ian and Pol­ish par­ti­sans. Attacked by a mixed force of Ukrain­ian police and Ger­man sol­diers on Feb. 28, hun­dreds of towns­peo­ple were mas­sa­cred, includ­ing many locked in barns that were set ablaze.

The legacy of World War II – espe­cially the bit­ter fight between Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists from the west and eth­nic Rus­sians from the east seven decades ago – is never far from the sur­face in Ukrain­ian pol­i­tics. One of the heroes cel­e­brated dur­ing the Maidan protests in Kiev was Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Stepan Ban­dera, whose name was hon­ored in many ban­ners includ­ing one on a podium where Sen. John McCain voiced sup­port for the upris­ing to oust elected Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych, whose polit­i­cal base was in east­ern Ukraine.

Dur­ing World War II, Ban­dera headed the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nationalists-B, a rad­i­cal para­mil­i­tary move­ment that sought to trans­form Ukraine into a racially pure state. OUN-B took part in the expul­sion and exter­mi­na­tion of thou­sands of Jews and Poles.

Though most of the Maidan pro­test­ers in 2013–14 appeared moti­vated by anger over polit­i­cal cor­rup­tion and by a desire to join the Euro­pean Union, neo-Nazis made up a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber. These storm troop­ers from the Right Sek­tor and Svo­boda party decked out some of the occu­pied gov­ern­ment build­ings with Nazi insignias and even a Con­fed­er­ate bat­tle flag, the uni­ver­sal sym­bol of white supremacy.

Then, as the protests turned vio­lent from Feb. 20–22, the neo-Nazis surged to the fore­front. Their well-trained mili­tias, orga­nized in 100-man brigades called “the hun­dreds,” led the final assaults against police and forced Yanukovych and many of his offi­cials to flee for their lives.

In the days after the coup, as the neo-Nazi mili­tias effec­tively con­trolled the gov­ern­ment, Euro­pean and U.S. diplo­mats scram­bled to help the shaken par­lia­ment put together the sem­blance of a respectable regime, although four min­istries, includ­ing national secu­rity, were awarded to the right-wing extrem­ists in recog­ni­tion of their cru­cial role in oust­ing Yanukovych.

See­ing No Nazis

Since Feb­ru­ary, vir­tu­ally the entire U.S. news media has coop­er­ated in the effort to play down the neo-Nazi role, dis­miss­ing any men­tion of this incon­ve­nient truth as “Russ­ian pro­pa­ganda.” Sto­ries in the U.S. media del­i­cately step around the neo-Nazi real­ity by keep­ing out rel­e­vant con­text, such as the back­ground of national secu­rity chief Andriy Paru­biy, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991, blend­ing rad­i­cal Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism with neo-Nazi sym­bols. Paru­biy was com­man­dant of the Maidan’s “self-defense forces.” [Paru­biy belongs to Swoboda–D.E.] 

When the neo-Nazi fac­tor is men­tioned in the main­stream U.S. press, it is usu­ally to dis­miss it as non­sense, such as an April 20 col­umn by New York Times colum­nist Nicholas Kristof who vis­ited his ances­tral home, the west­ern Ukrain­ian town of Kara­pchiv, and por­trayed its res­i­dents as the true voice of the Ukrain­ian people.

“To under­stand why Ukraini­ans are risk­ing war with Rus­sia to try to pluck them­selves from Moscow’s grip, I came to this vil­lage where my father grew up,” he wrote. “Even here in the vil­lage, Ukraini­ans watch Russ­ian tele­vi­sion and loathe the pro­pa­ganda por­tray­ing them as neo-Nazi thugs ram­pag­ing against Russ­ian speakers.

“‘If you lis­ten to them, we all carry assault rifles; we’re all beat­ing peo­ple,’ Ilya Moskal, a his­tory teacher, said contemptuously.”

In an April 17 col­umn from Kiev, Kristof wrote that what the Ukraini­ans want is weapons from the West so they can to go “bear-hunting,” i.e. killing Rus­sians. “Peo­ple seem to feel a bit dis­ap­pointed that the United States and Europe haven’t been more sup­port­ive, and they are humil­i­ated that their own act­ing gov­ern­ment hasn’t done more to con­front Russian-backed mil­i­tants. So, espe­cially after a few drinks, peo­ple are ready to take down the Russ­ian Army themselves.”

Kristof also repeated the U.S. “con­ven­tional wis­dom” that the resis­tance to the coup regime among east­ern Ukraini­ans was entirely the work of Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, who, Kristof wrote, “warns that Ukraine is on the brink of civil war. But the chaos in east­ern cities is his own cre­ation, in part by send­ing provo­ca­teurs across the border.”

How­ever, when the New York Times finally sent two reporters to spend time with rebels from the east, they encoun­tered an indige­nous move­ment moti­vated by hos­til­ity to the Kiev regime and show­ing no signs of direc­tion from Moscow. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Another NYT ‘Sort of’ Retrac­tion on Ukraine.”]

Beyond the jour­nal­is­tic risk of jump­ing to con­clu­sions, Kristof, who fan­cies him­self a great human­i­tar­ian, also should rec­og­nize that the clever depic­tion of human beings as ani­mals, whether as “bears” or “Col­orado bee­tles,” can have hor­ren­dous human con­se­quences as is now appar­ent in Odessa.

Reagan’s Nazis

But the prob­lem with some west­ern Ukraini­ans express­ing their incon­ve­nient love for Nazis has not been lim­ited to the cur­rent cri­sis. It bedev­iled Ronald Reagan’s admin­is­tra­tion when it began heat­ing up the Cold War in the 1980s.

As part of that strat­egy, Reagan’s United States Infor­ma­tion Agency, under his close friend Charles Wick, hired a cast of right-wing Ukrain­ian exiles who began show­ing up on U.S.-funded Radio Lib­erty prais­ing the Gali­cian SS.

These com­men­taries included pos­i­tive depic­tions of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists who had sided with the Nazis in World War II as the SS waged its “final solu­tion” against Euro­pean Jews. The pro­pa­ganda broad­casts pro­voked out­rage from Jew­ish orga­ni­za­tions, such as B’nai B’rith, and indi­vid­u­als includ­ing con­ser­v­a­tive aca­d­e­mic Richard Pipes.

Accord­ing to an inter­nal memo dated May 4, 1984, and writ­ten by James Critchlow, a research offi­cer at the Board of Inter­na­tional Broad­cast­ing, which man­aged Radio Lib­erty and Radio Free Europe, one RL broad­cast in par­tic­u­lar was viewed as “defend­ing Ukraini­ans who fought in the ranks of the SS.”

Critchlow wrote, “An RL Ukrain­ian broad­cast of Feb. 12, 1984 con­tains ref­er­ences to the Nazi-oriented Ukrainian-manned SS ‘Gali­cia’ Divi­sion of World War II which may have dam­aged RL’s rep­u­ta­tion with Soviet lis­ten­ers. The mem­oirs of a Ger­man diplo­mat are quoted in a way that seems to con­sti­tute endorse­ment by RL of praise for Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers in the SS divi­sion, which dur­ing its exis­tence fought side by side with the Ger­mans against the Red Army.”

Har­vard Pro­fes­sor Pipes, who was an infor­mal adviser to the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, also inveighed against the Radio Lib­erty broad­casts, writ­ing – on Dec. 3, 1984 – “the Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian ser­vices of RL have been trans­mit­ting this year bla­tantly anti-Semitic mate­r­ial to the Soviet Union which may cause the whole enter­prise irrepara­ble harm.” . . . .

6a. For a sec­ond time, pro-Russian seper­atist pro­test­ers in Ukraine have been burned alive by neo-Nazi recruits from the Ukrain­ian National Guard.

As we have seen in the pro­grams listed above, as well as in numer­ous posts, the interim Ukrain­ian government’s key ministries–defense, judi­ciary and edu­ca­tion among them–are dom­i­nated by Swoboda. Another fas­cist descen­dant of the OUN/B–Pravy Sektor–also par­tic­i­pates in the gov­ern­ment, the defense min­istry in particular.

That these groups, appar­ently sup­ported by intel ele­ments from the U.S. and [prob­a­bly] Ger­many, should behave in such a man­ner is no sur­prise. In addi­tion to their open admi­ra­tion for SS and Gestapo units from World War II, they man­i­fest the ide­ol­ogy and slo­gans of neo-Nazis worldwide.

Com­bat 14’s name derives from “the four­teen words” minted by David Lane, a mem­ber of the Order that killed talk show host Alan Berg. (See excerpt below.) The words are: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white children.”

NEVER lose sight of the fact that Lane and com­pany were inspired by The Turner Diaries, pub­lished by The National Alliance. Glenn Green­wald spent a big chunk of his pro­fes­sional career defend­ing Nazi orga­niz­tions, includ­ing the National Alliance. He worked tire­lessly to defend them from civil lit­i­ga­tion that might arrise from the vic­tims of acts incited by books such as Hunter and Turner Diaries.

“Burn­ing Ukraine’s Pro­test­ers Alive” by Robert Parry; OpE­d­News; 5/10/2014.

In Ukraine, a grisly new strat­egy — bring­ing in neo-Nazi para­mil­i­tary forces to set fire to occu­pied build­ings in the country’s rebel­lious south­east — appears to be emerg­ing as a favored tac­tic as the coup-installed regime in Kiev seeks to put down resis­tance from eth­nic Rus­sians and other opponents.

The tech­nique first emerged on May 2 in the port city of Odessa when pro-regime mil­i­tants chased dis­si­dents into the Trade Unions Build­ing and then set it on fire. As some 40 or more eth­nic Rus­sians were burned alive or died of smoke inhala­tion, the crowd out­side mocked them as red-and-black Col­orado potato bee­tles, with the chant of “Burn, Col­orado, burn.” After­wards, reporters spot­ted graf­fiti on the building’s walls con­tain­ing Swastika-like sym­bols and hon­or­ing the “Gali­cian SS,” the Ukrain­ian adjunct to the Ger­man SS in World War II.

This tac­tic of torch­ing an occu­pied build­ing occurred again on May 9 in Mar­i­upol, another port city, as neo-Nazi para­mil­i­taries — orga­nized now as the regime’s “National Guard” — were dis­patched to a police sta­tion that had been seized by dis­si­dents, pos­si­bly includ­ing police offi­cers who rejected a new Kiev-appointed chief. Again, the deploy­ment of the “National Guard” was fol­lowed by burn­ing the build­ing and killing a sig­nif­i­cant but still-undetermined num­ber of peo­ple inside. (Early esti­mates of the dead range from seven to 20.)

In the U.S. press, Ukraine’s “National Guard” is usu­ally described as a new force derived from the Maidan’s “self-defense” units that spear­headed the Feb. 22 revolt in Kiev over­throw­ing elected Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych. But the Maidan’s “self-defense” units were drawn pri­mar­ily from well-organized bands of neo-Nazi extrem­ists from west­ern Ukraine who hurled fire­bombs at police and fired weapons as the anti-Yanukovych protests turned increas­ingly violent.

But the main­stream U.S. press — in line with State Depart­ment guid­ance — has sought to min­i­mize or dis­miss the key role played by neo-Nazis in these “self-defense” forces as well as in the new gov­ern­ment. At most, you’ll see ref­er­ences to these neo-Nazis as “Ukrain­ian nationalists.” . . . .

6b. As dis­cussed in FTR #780, Swo­boda main­tains a street-fighting cadre called Com­bat 14.

“The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­egy”; german-foreign-policy.com; 3/06/2014.

. . . . On the other hand, this should draw atten­tion because Svo­boda hon­ors Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor, Stepan Ban­dera and his Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN), respon­si­ble for hav­ing com­mit­ted mas­sacres par­tic­u­larly of Jew­ish Ukraini­ans and Poles.[4] Svo­boda, accord­ing to activists in Kiev, still dis­poses of an ille­gal armed wing known as “C14.“[5] This has been con­firmed a few days ago by the BBC, which reports “C14’s” size allegedly at 200 mem­bers — and took over the head­quar­ters of the Com­mu­nist Party, an act that turns the spot­light on the con­cept of rule of law applied now in the pro-Western Ukraine. The name “C14” (“Com­bat 14″) is prob­a­bly a seman­tic flirt with the name “C18” (“Com­bat 18″) one of the inter­na­tional net­works of neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions, with which the “C14,” of course, shares no orga­ni­za­tional ties. At the same time, the name points to the num­ber “14.” In fas­cist cir­cles this refers to the “four­teen word” slo­gans of com­mit­ment to the “white race.” As the leader of Svoboda’s ally “C14” explained, his orga­ni­za­tion is in a “strug­gle” with “eth­nic groups” that are wield­ing, among other things, “eco­nomic and polit­i­cal power.” The “eth­nic groups” he is refer­ring to are “Rus­sians and Jews.“[6] . . . .

Ukrain­ian Nazis honor David Lane’s passing

6c. Com­bat 14’s name derives from “the four­teen words” minted by David Lane, a mem­ber of the Order that killed talk show host Alan Berg. (See excerpt below.) The words are: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white children.”

“Ter­ror­ist, ’14 Words’ Author, Dies in Prison”; South­ern Poverty Law Cen­ter; Fall 2007 [Issue #127]

. . . . Neo-Nazi activist April Gaede, a Kalispell, Mont., res­i­dent who cor­re­sponded fre­quently with Lane, announced with great fan­fare that she and “the gals from WAU [Women For Aryan Unity]” had estab­lished a David Lane Memo­r­ial Fund to cover the expenses of inter­ring Lane’s remains.

Accord­ing to Gaede, Lane told her that he wanted to be cre­mated and have his ashes placed in the cap­stone of a pyra­mid mon­u­ment. How­ever, Gaede wrote on the racist online forum Storm­front, “Since we are not in a sit­u­a­tion to build a mon­u­ment in a White home­land,” Gaede was arrang­ing to instead dis­trib­ute Lane’s ashes among 14 smaller, portable pyra­mids, which would then be enshrined in the homes of 14 white nation­al­ist women. (The num­ber of pyra­mids is a direct ref­er­ence to “the 14 words,” the white nation­al­ist catch­phrase authored by Lane: “We must secure the exis­tence of our peo­ple and a future for white chil­dren.”) . . . .

7. Ger­man For­eign Policy.com–which feeds along the right hand side of the front page of this website–updates reportage on the Ukrain­ian crisis. In addi­tion to high­light­ing the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Pravy Sek­tor recruits in the national secu­rity mili­tia of the OUN/B heirs rul­ing the interim gov­ern­ment in Ukraine, the article:

  • Notes the pres­ence of Pravy Sek­tor OUN/B heirs in the fire­bomb mas­sacre in Odessa, as well as that in Mar­i­opol.
  • Fur­ther devel­ops the con­ti­nu­ity between the interim gov­ern­ment in Ukraine and the OUN/B regime of Yaroslav and Slava Stet­sko. As dis­cussed in FTR #779, Stet­sko meet with Ronald Rea­gan dur­ing the latter’s admin­is­tra­tion. Rea­gan stressed the com­mon goals of his admin­is­tra­tion and Stetsko.
  • Under­scores the solid­i­fy­ing of the rela­tion­ship between the Pravy Sek­tor storm troop­ers and the Ukrain­ian national secu­rity cadres.
  • Fur­ther devel­ops the rela­tion­ship between Pravy Sek­tor and other Euro­pean Nazi groups.
  • Main­tains that ele­ments of CIA and FBI are assist­ing the Pravy Sektor-infused cadres in East­ern Ukraine. (The CIA direc­tor had already paid a visit to the Ukraine.)
  • Main­tains that some 400 mem­bers of “Acad­emi” (for­merly Black­wa­ter) are assist­ing the Ukrain­ian forces in East­ern Ukraine.

“Fas­cist Free­dom Fight­ers”; German-Foreign-Policy.com; 5/12/2014.

The rein­force­ment of fas­cist forces in Ukraine, under the aegis of the putsch regime in Kiev, is hav­ing reper­cus­sions on its Ger­man sup­port­ers. The com­mem­o­ra­tion of a Ukrain­ian sup­porter of the Holo­caust has ignited a debate in Munich. The “ques­tion” is being raised in the press, whether the com­mem­o­ra­tion of “a fas­cist free­dom fighter“[sic!] should be pub­licly hon­ored. Kiev’s Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion, a grad­u­ate of Munich’s “Ukrain­ian Free Uni­ver­sity,” takes up the defense of the sup­porter of the Holo­caust in the Ger­man media. The fas­cist “Pravy Sek­tor” (“Right Sek­tor”) mili­tia is inten­si­fy­ing its rela­tions with rightwing extrem­ists in sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries, includ­ing Ger­many. The orga­ni­za­tion that had par­tic­i­pated in the Odessa Mas­sacre has ties to violence-prone neo-Nazis in Swe­den as well as to Germany’s NPD. Whereas the leader of this orga­ni­za­tion insists he is work­ing closely with Ukraine’s offi­cial repres­sive author­i­ties, the media is report­ing that these author­i­ties are also sup­ported in their bru­tal repres­sive mea­sures (“anti-terror oper­a­tions”) against the insur­gents in East­ern and South­ern Ukraine by the CIA and FBI. Evi­dence of a BND involve­ment remains unconfirmed.

Should a Fas­cist be Commemorated?

In Munich, a hub of Ukrain­ian exile activ­i­ties in the post-World War II period,[1] a pub­lic debate has erupted around the memo­r­ial plaque for Yaroslav Stet­sko, one of the lead­ers of the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN). The plaque has been installed at the for­mer address of the OUN head­quar­ters, in Munich’s Zep­pelin­str. 67, by for­mer Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yushchenko dur­ing his incum­bency (2005 — 2010). This was part of his efforts to rein­force the cult around the fas­cist OUN, the Ukrain­ian Par­ti­san Army (UPA) and their leaders.[2] Stet­sko, who, after the war, was work­ing out of the OUN head­quar­ters in Munich, is, today, one of the peo­ple held in high esteem in West Ukraine. The Svo­boda Party still prop­a­gates his “two rev­o­lu­tions” the­ory, devel­oped in the 1930s — a “national” and a “social” rev­o­lu­tion, which must be com­bined. In 1941, Stet­sko declared that “the Jews must be exter­mi­nated and, it would be expe­di­ent to intro­duce the Ger­man exter­mi­na­tion meth­ods in Ukraine.” (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) In Munich, the local dis­trict coun­cil has now com­mis­sioned an expert assess­ment of the pub­lic com­mem­o­ra­tion of a sup­porter of the Holo­caust in its dis­trict. “The ques­tion is,” accord­ing to the “Süd­deutsche Zeitung” “whether a fas­cist free­dom fighter[sic!] should be pub­licly com­mem­o­rated?“[4]

“No Anti-Semitism”

The “Süd­deutsche Zeitung’s” arti­cle indi­cates that the OUN and its lead­ers, such as Stet­sko, are not only widely acclaimed in Ukrain­ian orga­ni­za­tions in Ger­many, but also within the putsch regime in Kiev, even among min­is­ters, who are not in the noto­ri­ous Svo­boda Party. As evi­dence, the arti­cle quotes Ser­hiy Kvit, “Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion” in the putsch regime. Kvit calls Stetsko’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy, con­tain­ing his plea for adap­ta­tion of the “Ger­man meth­ods of Jew­ish exter­mi­na­tion,” a “coun­ter­feit doc­u­ment,” alleg­ing that the OUN, whose activists had par­tic­i­pated in a con­sid­er­able num­ber of mas­sacres of Jews, “had noth­ing to do” with anti-Semitism.[5] Kvit had been active in the 90s in extrem­ist rightwing orga­ni­za­tions, for exam­ple, in the “Con­gress of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists” (CUN), a fas­cist con­glom­er­ate, orga­nized in part by Stetsko’s widow, Yaroslava. Yaroslava, who had been a UPA mem­ber, had worked along­side her hus­band in their Munich exile, and has also been hon­ored in Munich with a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[6]) Kvit later embarked on a schol­arly career. In 2001, he received his PhD at Munich’s “Ukrain­ian Free Uni­ver­sity,” where OUN vet­er­ans had been active for a long time, and in 2007, was named Pres­i­dent of the Kiev Mohyla Acad­emy National Uni­ver­sity, until he was recently named “Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion” in the putsch regime.

“Enemy of Ukraine”

Two years ago, Kvit, for exam­ple, helped cre­ate a con­fronta­tion with Grzhe­gorz Rossolinski-Liebe, a his­to­rian from Berlin. Rossolinski-Liebe, the author of a dis­ser­ta­tion on OUN leader, Stepan Ban­dera, sched­uled to be pub­lished this fall, had been invited to Ukraine for a speak­ing tour, in early 2012. Six talks were on the sched­ule — two in Lviv, two in Dnipropetro­vsk and two in Kiev. There were protests against Rossolinski-Liebe because of his being a known Ban­dera critic. In Lviv, the orga­niz­ers were unable to acquire a venue, reported the his­to­rian later. Of the four other speak­ing engage­ments, three had been can­celled on short notice. Some of the can­ce­la­tions had been directly trace­able to inter­ven­tions made by the Svo­boda Party, because of his crit­i­cism of Ban­dera. Who­ever expresses such crit­i­cism is con­sid­ered — at least in the West, and even in some regions of Cen­tral Ukraine — “an enemy of Ukraine or a trai­tor.” One uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor con­firmed to him that “in Ukraine, his­to­ri­ans can­not openly speak about his­tory.” In response to his sug­ges­tion that a memo­r­ial be erected to the vic­tims of the Lviv Pogroms of 1918 and 1941, “schol­ars from Lviv ... said he was crazy.” Even the pres­i­dent of the Kiev Mohyla Acad­emy National Uni­ver­sity, at the time, Ser­hiy Kvit, angrily attacked him and refused him the pos­si­bil­ity to deliver his talk.[7] Kvit is con­sid­ered a fol­lower of the pub­li­cist Dmytro Dontsov, who is cred­ited with the cre­ation of an “indige­nous Ukrain­ian fascism.“[8] Dontsov had trans­lated Hitler, Mus­solini and oth­ers into Ukrainian.

Under Police Protection

From Rossolinski-Liebe’s report, one learns also that the Ger­man Embassy in Kiev was com­pletely cog­nizant of the sit­u­a­tion — and there­fore knew also about the dra­matic growth in influ­ence of Ukraine’s Ban­dera fol­low­ers. When he received a tele­phone call from a man, iden­ti­fy­ing him­self as a mili­tia­man, say­ing he would drop by, Rossolinski-Liebe says that “the Ger­man Embassy ... made arrange­ments for me to move into an apart­ment of an embassy employee, where I would be safe.” Of the six sched­uled lec­tures, he was only able to hold the lec­ture in the Ger­man Embassy, “under mili­tia pro­tec­tion” — “about 100 Svo­boda fol­low­ers were demon­strat­ing outside.“[9] Nearly two years later, to the day, Ger­man For­eign Min­is­ter Frank-Walter Stein­meier (SPD) invited Oleh Tiah­ny­bok, the leader of Svo­boda, to the Ger­man Embassy in Kiev for talks. One result — Svo­boda is now rep­re­sented in the putsch regime.[10]

National Heroes

Many of the Pravy Sek­tor activists, who par­tic­i­pated in the May 2, Odessa Mas­sacre and the May 9, mas­sacre in Mar­i­upol had come from the ultra-nationalistically charged milieus, par­tic­u­larly those in West Ukraine. The armed orga­ni­za­tion, play­ing a major role in over­throw­ing the Yanukovich gov­ern­ment, orig­i­nated as an alliance of rightwing extrem­ist groups.[11] In the mean­time, it has devel­oped good con­tacts to numer­ous extrem­ist rightwing asso­ci­a­tions through­out Europe. Pravy Sektor’s press attaché, Olena Semenyaka, reported that she could not attend the March 22 Young National Democrates’s (JN) “Europe Con­gress” of the Ger­man NPD’s youth asso­ci­a­tion, in Thuringia, only because of a con­flict with other sched­uled engage­ments. The Swedish Nordisk Ung­dom neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion, which, accord­ing to Semenyaka, finan­cially sup­ports the Pravy Sek­tor, had attended the NPD con­gress, along with the Sven­ska­mas Party, some of whose activists had also par­tic­i­pated in the vio­lent Maidan riots. In March, one of those Maidan par­tic­i­pants stabbed a left­ist in Malmo, soon after return­ing from Kiev. Charged with attempted mur­der, he has been on the run since.[12] Recently, Semenyaka gave an inter­view to the NPD party’s “Deutsche Stimme” jour­nal. In the course of her inter­view, she boasted that at the Maidan, “ultra-nationalists” became trans­formed into “national heroes.” The Pravy Sek­tor is a “great par­ti­san move­ment,” she boasted.

CIA, Black­wa­ter, BND?

Mean­while, Ger­man forces fur­ther to the right than the NPD are show­ing a grow­ing inter­est in the Pravy Sek­tor. In April, the ultra-right online plat­form “Blaue Narzisse” (Blue Daf­fodil) pub­lished an inter­view with Olena Semenyaka. She empha­sized that “even mod­ern Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers will find their place in our broad ranks” and explained that the Pravy Sektor’s most impor­tant cur­rent task is to “lib­er­ate” Ukraine “from col­lab­o­ra­tors, sep­a­ratists and mar­i­onettes of Rus­sia and the West.“[13] As a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple, the Pravy Sek­tor coor­di­nates its oper­a­tions with the respec­tive Ukrain­ian author­i­ties, accord­ing to its leader Dmitro Yarosh. “Our bat­tal­ions are inte­grated into the new ter­ri­to­r­ial defense,” explains Yarosh. “We have very close con­tacts to the secret ser­vice and the mil­i­tary staff. We really have good rela­tions with every­one, except the police.“[14] Yarosh had already been closely coop­er­at­ing with the head of the National Secu­rity Coun­cil Andriy Paru­biy to over­throw the Yanukovych gov­ern­ment. Paru­biy, a leader of the extreme right in the 1990s, was con­sid­ered, last win­ter, the “com­man­der of the Maidan.” Today, he is orga­niz­ing the regime’s “anti-terror mis­sions” in East­ern and South­ern Ukraine. US spe­cial­ists from the CIA and FBI are serv­ing as “advi­sors” and — accord­ing to reports — 400 elite sol­diers from the US mer­ce­nary com­pany “Acad­emi” (for­merly “Black­wa­ter”) are pro­vid­ing oper­a­tional sup­port.[15] It is not yet clear, whether the BND is also involved in the Ukrain­ian “anti-terror mis­sion.” How­ever, what is known, is that the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers, who had been held in Slavyansk in late April, were in con­tact with the BND.[16] The Ger­man gov­ern­ment is refus­ing any fur­ther information.

8. Among the sto­ries blacked out in the U.S. (and most of the West) is the true nature of some per­son­nel detained in the East­ern Ukraine. Widely reported to be “observers” from the OSCE, they were, in fact, Bun­deswehr advisers.

 “An Unusual Mis­sion;” german-foreign-policy.com; 4/28/2014.

Many con­tra­dic­tions have appeared over the case of the cap­tured Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in Slavyansk. Con­trary to per­sist­ing mis­in­for­ma­tion, a lead­ing OSCE func­tionary has con­firmed that the mil­i­tary observers were not on an OSCE mis­sion in the Ukraine, but rather on a Ger­man Bun­deswehr mis­sion at the request of the putsch regime in Kiev. Even before the inci­dent in Slavyansk, the Bun­deswehr con­sid­ered the activ­i­ties of this par­ti­san unit — which offi­cially claims to be act­ing on the author­ity of “the Vienna Doc­u­ment” arms con­trol agree­ment — to be “unusual” and “unprece­dented in this form.” In fact, the Bun­deswehr per­son­nel were not only involved in a dan­ger­ous con­flict; they were also engaged on the ter­ri­tory of a suc­ces­sor state of the Soviet Union. To main­tain the mil­i­tary bal­ance in Europe, the West had once promised Moscow not to sta­tion any mil­i­tary in these coun­tries. Last week, one of the detained Ger­mans had pub­licly declared that his del­e­ga­tion was exclu­sively mon­i­tor­ing Ukrain­ian secu­rity forces; their mis­sion state­ment did not allow any­thing else.

Not an OSCE Mission

The three Ger­man ser­vice­men and their Ger­man inter­preter, who, since Fri­day, are being detained along with 3 other offi­cers from NATO coun­tries in the embat­tled east­ern Ukrain­ian city of Slavyansk — a fourth sol­dier, from non-NATO mem­ber Swe­den, has been released — are not par­tic­i­pants in an offi­cial OSCE obser­va­tion mis­sion. On March 21, the deploy­ment of the offi­cial OSCE obser­va­tion mis­sion to Ukraine had been decided to last for an ini­tial period of six months, with ten Ger­mans par­tic­i­pat­ing in the mis­sion. The Ger­mans being held in Slavyansk, how­ever, are not on a mis­sion for the OSCE, as Claus Neukirch, Deputy Direc­tor of the OSCE Cri­sis Pre­ven­tion Cen­ter explic­itly con­firmed over the weekend.[1] They were on a mis­sion as mil­i­tary observers on behalf of the Ger­man Bun­deswehr. They could not pro­duce an inter­na­tional man­date. The Bun­deswehr called their activ­i­ties in the Ukraine “unusual.” The fact that they trav­eled into the embat­tled city of Slavyansk raises even more questions.

Com­pre­hen­sively Informed

The pres­ence of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in the Ukraine is for­mally jus­ti­fied with the so-called Vienna Doc­u­ment, which was adopted in 1990 and sev­eral times updated since. The Vienna Doc­u­ment facil­i­tates arms con­trol, oblig­ing sig­na­tory states to a rec­i­p­ro­cal exchange of infor­ma­tion about their armed forces and major weapons sys­tems, and includes ver­i­fi­ca­tion mech­a­nisms. It has been rec­og­nized by all 57 OSCE mem­ber states. In Ger­many, the Bun­deswehr Ver­i­fi­ca­tion Cen­ter (ZVBw) is respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing all tasks aris­ing from the imple­men­ta­tion of the Vienna Doc­u­ment. The ZVBw has been col­lect­ing com­pre­hen­sive infor­ma­tion on the armed forces, par­tic­u­larly on those of the Soviet Union’s suc­ces­sor states — and the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in the Ukraine are on mis­sion for this agency. “ZVBw ser­vice­men inspect mil­i­tary instal­la­tions of the par­tic­i­pat­ing states and accom­pany for­eign del­e­ga­tions com­ing for inspec­tions to Ger­many,” accord­ing to ZVBw’s descrip­tion of its habit­ual activities.[2] It is based in Geilenkirchen near Aachen. NATO AWACS “sur­veil­lance” air­craft are also sta­tioned in that town and are deployed by the west­ern war alliance for ver­i­fi­ca­tion flights over Poland and Romania.[3]

Par­ti­san Observers

The deploy­ment of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in Ukraine dif­fers in prin­ci­ple from the ZVBw’s pre­vi­ous “Vienna Doc­u­ment” mis­sions, aimed at rou­tine arms con­trol. The mis­sion is tak­ing place in a dan­ger­ous con­flict. This is “unusual” and “in the his­tory of the Vienna Doc­u­ment, has never hap­pened before in this form,” explained the Ger­man Lieu­tenant Colonel Hayko von Rosen­zweig, who, from March 5 to 20, him­self, had been deployed as a Ger­man mil­i­tary observer in Ukraine. At the time, Rosen­zweig was charged with draw­ing up a “clear sit­u­a­tion assess­ment of the activ­i­ties of Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian armed forces.” But his del­e­ga­tion was halted by separatists.[4] The putschist regime in Kiev — a party to the con­flict and a regime with­out demo­c­ra­tic legit­i­macy — had for­mally requested the mis­sion. More­over, this mis­sion is tak­ing place in one of the for­mer Soviet coun­tries. Dur­ing the upheavals 1989 to 1991, the major west­ern pow­ers had promised Moscow not to sta­tion any NATO troops on the ter­ri­to­ries of for­mer War­saw Treaty Orga­ni­za­tion mem­ber coun­tries. This com­mit­ment — designed to main­tain the mil­i­tary bal­ance in Europe — has been bro­ken by NATO coun­tries numer­ous times over the past few years.[5] The deploy­ment of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers is fur­ther shift­ing this bal­ance of power.

“Keep­ing an Eye on Gov­ern­ment Armed Forces”

Fur­ther ques­tions are raised about the activ­i­ties of Ger­man mil­i­tary observers in Slavyansk. Last Wednes­day, Col. Axel Schnei­der, one of the Ger­mans being detained in Slavyansk, first spoke in a radio broad­cast about the offi­cial objec­tives of his mis­sion. Accord­ing to Schnei­der, the del­e­ga­tion was sup­posed to “make an assess­ment” of “the sit­u­a­tion” of Ukraine’s armed units “and their capa­bil­i­ties, whether they are offense or defense ori­ented.” Schnei­der explic­itly explained that the focus was “on reg­u­lar, gov­ern­ment armed forces.” There was no assign­ment, what­so­ever, to have any­thing to do with sep­a­ratist units or even with Russ­ian spe­cial forces, allegedly oper­at­ing in Ukraine. “We are con­cen­trat­ing on the secu­rity forces of the Ukraine.” How­ever, in ret­ro­spect, the infor­ma­tion Schnei­der pre­sented on Wednes­day is not con­vinc­ing. He claimed he was “pos­i­tively cer­tain,” there is absolutely no “offen­sive pos­tur­ing, pos­si­ble esca­la­tion” from “Ukraine’s armed forces.“[6] A few days later, these very same armed forces stormed Slavyansk.

Coor­di­nated with Berlin

Still, the more impor­tant ques­tion is what were the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers doing in Slavyansk, in the first place, if their assign­ment — in accor­dance to the “Vienna Doc­u­ment” — was to solely deal with Ukrain­ian armed forces. Slavyansk is in the hands of sep­a­ratists. This ques­tion becomes that much more volatile, since the putsch regime in Kiev appar­ently had explic­itly coor­di­nated its offen­sive on that city with Germany’s NATO part­ner, the USA. For exam­ple, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Min­is­ter Vitalii Yarema had not only received the head of the CIA, John Bren­nan, in Kiev for talks on expand­ing gen­eral coop­er­a­tion between the secret ser­vices. Accord­ing to reports, the Ukrain­ian part­ner was par­tic­u­larly inter­ested in Russ­ian and pro-Russian troop move­ments. It is also reported that dur­ing US Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s visit to Kiev, Yarema had been advised by “anti-terror” spe­cial­ists on the impend­ing “anti-terror” mis­sion (the putsch regime’s ver­nac­u­lar) in Slavyansk.[7] The fact that it can be ruled out that the Ger­man mil­i­tary observers on mis­sion in the Ukraine will remain silent about what they have learned, is not only due to stan­dard pro­ce­dure in sim­i­lar cases. In the radio broad­cast, Col. Schnei­der explic­itly con­firmed that “we have coor­di­nated every­thing very closely with our Min­istry of For­eign Affairs.“[8] On the other hand, par­tic­u­larly in light of the intel­li­gence ser­vice scan­dals over the past few years, it is not to be assumed that Berlin would with­hold its infor­ma­tion on the sit­u­a­tion on the ground in Slavyansk — encir­cled by Ukrain­ian troops ready to storm the city — from its allies.

More reports and back­ground infor­ma­tion on the cur­rent Ger­man pol­icy in ref­er­ence to the Ukraine can be found here: A Broad-Based Anti-Russian Alliance, Expan­sive Ambi­tions, Our Man in Kiev, Inte­gra­tion Rivalry with Moscow, On the Offen­sive, At all Costs, The Crimean Con­flict, The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­egy, Cold War Images, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Vio­la­tion, The Euro­peaniza­tion of Ukraine and Offi­cial Gov­ern­ment Voca­tive.

[1] Sep­a­ratis­ten führen Mil­itärin­spek­teure vor. www.faz.net 27.04.2014.
[2] Zen­trum für Ver­i­fika­tion­sauf­gaben der Bun­deswehr. www.kommando.streitkraeftebasis.de. See Von Van­cou­ver bis Wladi­wos­tok.
[3] Rus­sia Could Invade Ukraine ‘Any Day Now,’ NATO Offi­cials Warn. www.ibtimes.com 02.04.2014.
[4] Ein ganz beson­derer Auf­trag. www.streitkraeftebasis.de 10.04.2014.
[5] In 2010, the USA began deploy­ing patriot units in Poland — for­mally rotat­ing and for train­ing pur­poses, but in fact per­ma­nently. In 2012, US sol­diers were per­ma­nently deployed at cen­tral Poland’s Lask mil­i­tary air­port. Pre­vi­ously, the Ger­man gov­ern­ment had cre­ated a prece­dent by mak­ing the Halle/Leipzig Air­port avail­able for mil­i­tary use — also for NATO’s war on Afghanistan, even though the agree­ment between the West and Moscow also applied to the ter­ri­tory of the GDR. S. dazu Start in den Som­mer und In den Urlaub. See Take Off Into the Sum­mer and In den Urlaub.
[6] “Sehr überraschende Befunde”. www.br.de 23.04.2014.
[7] Rein­hard Lauter­bach: Streik in der Ostukraine.

9. Another German-Foreign-Policy.com arti­cle ana­lyzes the media/propaganda com­po­nent of an “op.” Pre­sent­ing sev­eral stages req­ui­site for the con­di­tion­ing of a skep­ti­cal pub­lic to accept a pre-determined gam­bit, the arti­cle high­lights the method­ol­ogy of behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion through media presentation.

“Cri­sis of Legit­i­macy”; german-foreign-policy com; 2014/05/05

The unprece­dented dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign being waged by the lead­ing Ger­man media has reached a new cli­max with its report­ing on the mur­der of more than 40 peo­ple in Odessa. In the Ukrain­ian metrop­o­lis of a mil­lion inhab­i­tants, the Trade Union House “caught fire” — “a cat­a­stro­phe,” whose cause is still unknown. This is how it was reported imme­di­ately fol­low­ing the fire, on May 2. Even though sup­port­ers of the putschists in Kiev could be seen hurl­ing Molo­tov cock­tails at those bar­ri­caded inside the Trade Union House on inter­na­tional press agency pho­tos, key Ger­man media organs chose to pub­lish the Ukrain­ian intel­li­gence ser­vices’ fal­si­fied bul­letins claim­ing that “Moscow” was respon­si­ble for the crimes. Those mur­dered were among a group of demon­stra­tors call­ing for regional auton­omy. They had fled their attack­ers and were chased into the Trade Union House, blocked inside and left to a grue­some death by suffocation.

Even though the con­text can long since be recon­structed, the “Tagess­chau” evening news cast still described the scene in delib­er­ately vague terms 24 hours later. For exam­ple, on May 3, at 20:15 the inci­dent in Odessa was described in the First Ger­man Tele­vi­sion Net­work (ARD): “The Trade Union House caught fire.“[1] This for­mu­la­tion sounds like a tech­ni­cal defect, while avoid­ing link­ing the inci­dent to an abun­dance of news mate­r­ial from inter­na­tional agen­cies. That “uniden­ti­fied per­sons” may have set the fire is all that was admit­ted, claim­ing igno­rance of the sur­round­ing circumstances.

Unclear

Forty-eight hours later, that pro-government TV chan­nel retreated to the pre­scribed ter­mi­nol­ogy; “both par­ties to the con­flict” accuse each other, mak­ing the sit­u­a­tion unclear. After hav­ing cov­ered, in Feb­ru­ary, the Rus­so­phobe vio­lence on Kiev’s Maidan with elab­o­rate live broad­casts from its cor­re­spon­dents, let­ting them from time to time be accom­pa­nied by the shrill atmos­phere, today, the ARD seems inca­pable of doing its own research.

Inter­pre­ta­tion Hegemony

The ARD was again on the Odessa scene, giv­ing the putsch par­tic­i­pant, Vladimir Klitschko the oppor­tu­nity to express in an inter­view his regrets about what had hap­pened and his wish that the city’s inhab­i­tants will find more peace. This gave the sym­bolic fig­ure of Ger­man inter­fer­ence into Ukraine’s inter­nal affairs [2] to impose a hege­mony over the inter­pre­ta­tion of this crime; it has dete­ri­o­rated into pas­toral mourn­ing. The tele­vi­sion audi­ence learned noth­ing about the fact that those respon­si­ble for the crime are sus­pected of being among Klitschko’s polit­i­cal asso­ciates in Kiev.

Own Fault

Yes­ter­day, (Sun­day) — 72 hours after the mur­ders in Odessa — the ARD ulti­mately had the idea of let­ting Arseniy Yat­senyuk, one of the most aggres­sive rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Kiev’s putschists, attempt to jus­tify what had hap­pened. He alleged that the police in Odessa had failed, but that those respon­si­ble for the inci­dent are to be found in Rus­sia (Moscow’s “Plan to destroy Ukraine”). The ARD exhaus­tively quoted ver­ba­tim these anti-Russian tirades on its web­page [3] and dur­ing a prime time photo report at 20:00, with­out even men­tion­ing a sec­ond source to cor­rob­o­rate or con­tra­dict this pro­pa­ganda. The ARD refers also to “bloody clashes,” nam­ing no active par­tic­i­pants or insin­u­at­ing that the respon­si­bil­ity lies solely with the anti-government insur­gents. For exam­ple, in yesterday’s 20:00 “Tagess­chau,” the ARD alleged that the mur­ders in Odessa were only the reac­tion to the attacks made by the vic­tims themselves.

“Diplo­mats”

The way news of the crimes in Odessa are being reported cor­re­sponds to months of con­tin­u­ous, sys­tem­atic gra­da­tion of jour­nal­is­tic stan­dards, which have almost entirely been tai­lored to Berlin’s for­eign pol­icy stipulations.[4] For exam­ple, for days, the ARD had harped on the delib­er­ate con­fu­sion around the Bundeswehr’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion with­out call­ing the oper­a­tion by its name. The Bun­deswehr had dis­patched so-called observers to East Ukraine at the demand of Kiev’s putsch regime. The ARD either referred to these Ger­man mil­i­tary per­son­nel as “mem­bers of an OSCE mis­sion” or called them “diplo­mats.“[5]

Dis­guised

The fact that these Ger­man mil­i­tary per­son­nel were oper­at­ing under a secret agree­ment with the ille­git­i­mate putsch regime, need­ing infor­ma­tion on the deploy­ment of insur­gent forces to pre­pare its “anti-terror” war on East­ern Ukraine, was either con­sid­ered not news­wor­thy or it was rel­e­gated to the noc­tur­nal “talk shows” (“con­spir­acy the­ory”). Instead, the ARD net­work made a spe­cial broad­cast (May 2), pre­sent­ing an assumed non-partisan spe­cial­ist for the OSCE the­sis. On the screen, the spe­cial­ist was iden­ti­fied as an asso­ciate of the Ger­man Insti­tute for Inter­na­tional and Secu­rity Affairs (SWP). He was per­mit­ted — in the course of a minute-long mono­logue — to con­firm the ver­sion of an alleged OSCE-sponsored mis­sion. Is espi­onage behind it? This ques­tion was never even raised. The tele­vi­sion view­ers were never informed that the inter­view part­ner was Wolf­gang Richter, cur­rently a Colonel, mem­ber of the Bundeswehr’s Gen­eral Staff, and the sec­tion com­man­der of these obscure mil­i­tary observers, whose head­quar­ters are in Geilenkirchen, a Bun­deswehr — and pre­vi­ously a NATO nuclear weapons — site. The ARD opened their air­waves to a dis­guised mil­i­tary officer.

Rumors

The mas­quer­ade of schol­ar­ship put on by the Bun­deswehr in that spe­cial broad­cast on pub­lic tele­vi­sion has degen­er­ated to the level of cold war news report­ing. In the years 1962 to 1975, the ARD (includ­ing its cor­re­spon­dent Win­fried Schar­lau) and the Sec­ond Ger­man Tele­vi­sion, “ZDF,” (includ­ing its cor­re­spon­dent Peter Scholl-Latour) fueled the Fed­eral Ger­man Republic’s mil­i­tary readi­ness against Hanoi, Moscow and Peking. Vil­i­fy­ing the adver­sary — as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple — and allegedly defend­ing the west­ern “com­mu­nity of val­ues” are part of the lead­ing media’s stan­dard reper­toire. The large-scale war crimes com­mit­ted by the USA and its allies in Viet­nam, Laos and Cam­bo­dia were either not men­tioned at all in news reports or dis­missed as com­mu­nist inspired rumors.

Three Stages

The lead­ing Ger­man media used a sim­i­lar approach dur­ing the war on Yugoslavia and the aggres­sion against Iraq. Three stages can be dis­tin­guished in this approach. Dur­ing the first stage — the stage of prepar­ing and con­duct­ing offen­sive oper­a­tions — reli­able cor­re­spon­dents with appro­pri­ate con­nec­tions to mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal staffs, super­vise the pro­duc­tion of news. Cor­re­spon­dents and “spe­cial cor­re­spon­dents” in Brus­sels (NATO), Wash­ing­ton and Moscow pro­vide the ori­en­ta­tion. Long-time WDR jour­nal­ist Rolf-Dieter Krause (nick­named “NATO-Krause” in the WDR) is cur­rently direc­tor of the ARD’s Brus­sels stu­dio. Dur­ing this first stage, which does not leave any room for skep­tics, Ina Ruck (WDR) was Moscow’s cor­re­spon­dent and Ukraine com­men­ta­tor. The news report­ing is her­metic and hysterical.

Prompters

Once the operation’s goal is within reach (or remain­ing obsta­cles seem sur­mount­able), the infor­ma­tional hori­zon widens (sec­ond stage). In the Ukraine con­flict, this sec­ond stage began when the gov­ern­ment in Kiev was suc­cess­fully over­thrown in late Feb­ru­ary. The par­tic­u­larly gung-ho cor­re­spon­dents are then replaced with more lib­eral col­leagues. Media-hype aimed at cre­at­ing a pub­lic image of the enemy is replaced by a report­ing aimed at calm­ing the pub­lic. This report­ing includes crit­ics, who are wel­comed (par­tic­u­larly in talk shows) to point out short­com­ing, errors and per­haps act as prompters to pro­pose improve­ments in the ongo­ing operation.

Review­ing

Once this stage of the oper­a­tion is ended or — due to unex­pected prob­lems — post­poned, the third stage starts: A media review with, at times, star­tling inves­tiga­tive reports. This stage aims at com­pre­hen­sively inte­grat­ing civil soci­ety, whose paci­fist skep­sis or polit­i­cal accu­sa­tions should (and must) be aired, before the next oper­a­tion starts. The WDR doc­u­men­tary “It Began With a Lie” [6] fol­low­ing the war on Yugoslavia and — fol­low­ing the Maidan mas­sacre — the WDR “Mon­i­tor” report about the alleged assas­sins com­ing from the Kiev putschist cir­cles (“Who Were the Gun­men on the Maidan?”)[7] are exam­ples of this media inclu­sion. It becomes appar­ent that the report­ing regional ARD sta­tions (cur­rently WDR), may be iden­ti­cal in all of the stages. They do not reflect their inter­nal polit­i­cal ori­en­ta­tions, but fol­low the guid­ing con­cepts of the lead­ing per­son­nel and the ties these have to struc­tures of the state-supporting parties.

Grow­ing War Danger

There is mas­sive protest against the lead­ing Ger­man media organs’ dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign. The protest response is so strong that pub­lic tele­vi­sion chan­nels have had to peri­od­i­cally shut down the com­men­tary func­tions of their inter­net pages, “due to overload.“[8] In fact, the government-line press has been inca­pable of con­vinc­ing a major­ity of pub­lic opin­ion of an inevitable mil­i­tary reori­en­ta­tion, as was bluntly demanded by the NATO Gen­eral Sec­re­tary (also yes­ter­day May 4, in the ARD) with increases in the arms expen­di­tures. A major­ity of the pop­u­la­tion is also skep­ti­cal about the fur­ther encir­clement of Rus­sia, which will ratchet up the dan­ger of war and demon­strate that the EU’s guid­ing prin­ci­ple “Peace in Europe” is a lie. The per­sist­ing inten­sity of their unsuc­cess­ful news report­ing is the expres­sion of a polit­i­cal cri­sis of legitimacy.

More reports and back­ground infor­ma­tion on the cur­rent Ger­man pol­icy toward Ukraine can be found here: A Broad-Based Anti-Russian Alliance, Expan­sive Ambi­tions, Our Man in Kiev, Inte­gra­tion Rivalry with Moscow, On the Offen­sive, At all Costs, The Crimean Con­flict, The Kiev Esca­la­tion Strat­egy, Cold War Images, The Free World, A Fatal Taboo Vio­la­tion, The Euro­peaniza­tion of Ukraine, Offi­cial Gov­ern­ment Voca­tive and An Unusual Mis­sion.

[1] Wort­pro­tokoll der Sendung.
[2] See Our Man in Kiev and Der Mann der Deutschen.
[3] Pro-russische Kräfte attack­ieren Polizeizen­trale. www.tagesschau.de 04.05.2014.
[4] See The Free World.
[5] See An Unusual Mis­sion.
[6] Sendung am 08.04.2001.
[7] Sendung am 11.04.2014.
[8] So am 03.05.2014 auf der Internet-Seite der ARD-“Tagesschau”/“Tagesthemen”.

10. The newly-elected Poroshenko has recon­sti­tuted the old Yuschenko polit­i­cal team.

“Ukraine’s New Pres­i­dent Poroshenko Leads Old Team”; Deutsche Welle; 6/7/2014.

. . . . But a close look at his team quickly shows that Poroshenko has sur­rounded him­self with offi­cials from the Yushchenko era.

For exam­ple, Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign was planned by Ihor Hryniv. The 53-year-old mem­ber of par­lia­ment and for­mer direc­tor of the Kyiv Insti­tute for Strate­gic Stud­ies was once Yushchenko’s adviser. He later rep­re­sented his party “Nasha Ukraina” (Our Ukraine) in parliament.

The 43-year-old for­eign pol­icy expert and diplo­mat Valeri Chaly was also part of Yushchenko’s team. Dur­ing Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign Chaly was in charge of for­eign pol­icy issues. The 60-year-old Roman Svarych is also back in pol­i­tics: Yushchenko’s for­mer jus­tice min­is­ter now con­sults with Poroshenko on legal issues. [Svarych was the per­sonal sec­re­tary to OUN/B leader Yaroslav Stet­sko in the early 1980’s–D.E.]

Else­where in the coun­try the pic­ture is the same. Vik­tor Baloha, for exam­ple, was the head of Yushchenko’s sec­re­tariat dur­ing his pres­i­dency. He headed Poroshenko’s elec­tion cam­paign in the west­ern Ukrain­ian province of Transcarpathia. . . .

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #794 The Fires This Time: Update on the Ukraine”

  1. Two days ago there were reports that Svo­boda was call­ing for mar­tial law in the east:

    Ukrain­ian Fas­cist Party Demands Mar­tial Law in South­east
    June 2, 2014

    Kiev, Jun 2 (Prensa Latina) The Ukrain­ian fas­cist party Svo­boda (Free­dom) demanded today that mar­tial law be imposed in Donetsk and Lugansk regions and the bor­ders with Rus­sia closed.

    In his address dur­ing a meet­ing of the fac­tions of the Supreme Rada (uni­cam­eral Par­lia­ment), extremist-nationalist Oleg Tyag­ni­bok, leader of Svo­boda, said that a mil­i­tary sit­u­a­tion must be declared in the two rebel regions, where Kiev author­i­ties have been lead­ing an offen­sive since mid-April.

    He also urged clos­ing the bor­ders with Rus­sia and elim­i­nat­ing the visa free regime between the two coun­tries, a mea­sure that has been repeat­edly requested by the Secu­rity National Coun­cil, also con­trolled by the Svo­boda party.

    Accord­ing to Tyg­ni­bok, one of the lead­ers of the vio­lent events staged in Ukraine at the end of 2013 as well as the coup d’etat in Feb­ru­ary, the bill was reg­is­tered at the Rada.

    Bat­tles between Ukrain­ian reg­u­lar forces and the self-defense mili­tia took place today in Lugansk and Slavyansk, in Donetsk, a region whose res­i­den­tial areas have been sub­jected to indis­crim­i­nate bomb­ings from air­craft and heavy artillery.

    ...

    And just today, with the Kiev gov­ern­ment announc­ing that over 300 sep­a­ratists had been killed and 500 injured over the last 24 hours, it’s being reported that act­ing pres­i­dent Olek­sandr V. Turchynov thinks mar­tial law will sta­bi­lize the sit­u­a­tion and is ask­ing the Svoboda-controlled National Secu­rity and Defense Coun­cil to do con­sider it. And accord­ing to deputy prime min­is­ter Vitaly Yarema, the coun­cil will do exactly that this Sat­ur­day, right after Petro Poroshenko’s inau­gu­ra­tion:

    The New York Times
    Rebels in East­ern Ukraine Cap­ture Gov­ern­ment Posts

    By SABRINA TAVERNISE JUNE 4, 2014

    LUHANSK, Ukraine — Rebel fight­ers in Ukraine’s trou­bled east have scored a major vic­tory, cap­tur­ing a bor­der guard com­mand base here after besieg­ing it for two days and then over­whelm­ing a sec­ond base that housed Ukrain­ian inter­nal secu­rity forces.

    Gun­fire rat­tled for hours into the night on Tues­day as fight­ers sur­rounded the inter­nal secu­rity base in cen­tral Luhansk, on a back street near a gro­cery store. By Wednes­day morn­ing, men in cam­ou­flage could be seen mov­ing around inside the base, which goes by the num­ber 3035, and blood was smeared in three large patches on a wall and side­walk nearby. It was not clear how many Ukrain­ian per­son­nel had been inside, but they were ordered to remove their uni­forms, which lay in a pile inside the base.

    The Asso­ci­ated Press cited offi­cials as say­ing six mil­i­tants were killed and three Ukrain­ian ser­vice­men were injured in the fighting.

    ...

    The mil­i­tary rever­sals came as Olek­sandr V. Turchynov, Ukraine’s act­ing pres­i­dent, arrived in east­ern Ukraine — the first visit by a mem­ber of Ukraine’s gov­ern­ment to the east­ern regions since sep­a­ratists seized gov­ern­ment build­ings and large stretches of ter­ri­tory. A spokes­woman for Mr. Turchynov, Anna Vakhot­skaya, said she could not give details about where he was or what he was doing, cit­ing secu­rity concerns.

    In Luhansk, mourn­ers were occu­pied Wednes­day with bury­ing the vic­tims of an airstrike two days ear­lier. More than 100 stood in a crowded ceme­tery by the grave of Alexan­der Gizai, a respected com­mu­nity leader who was killed in the strike. The death of Mr. Gizai, who ran a local youth club, has angered residents.

    The A.P. reported on Wednes­day that Mr. Turchynov, who will hand over power to President-elect Petro O. Poroshenko on Sat­ur­day, has asked the National Secu­rity and Defense Coun­cil of Ukraine to con­sider impos­ing mar­tial law in east­ern parts of the coun­try to try to sta­bi­lize the situation.

    Ukraine’s first deputy prime min­is­ter, Vitaly Yarema, was quoted by the news agency Inter­fax Ukraine as say­ing that the coun­cil would con­vene to dis­cuss mar­tial law only after Mr. Poroshenko’s inauguration.

    Poroshenko, on the other hand, just came out in oppo­si­tion to the idea:

    Ukraine’s president-elect opposes calls for mar­tial law in the country’s tur­bu­lent east
    Asso­ci­ated Press June 4, 2014

    WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Ukraine’s president-elect says he opposes calls to insti­tute mar­tial law in the country’s trou­bled east, and sup­ports peace­ful solutions.

    Petro Poroshenko spoke Wednes­day in War­saw after meet­ing with U.S. and Euro­pean lead­ers dur­ing his first for­eign trip since being elected on May 25.

    He said mar­tial law — a sce­nario sug­gested by interim Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Olek­sandr Turchynov — would not serve peace efforts in the east. The country’s armed forces are fight­ing pro-Russian insur­gents in the region.

    Speak­ing in Eng­lish, Poroshenko said he will use his inau­gu­ra­tion day Sat­ur­day to make a pro­posal to restore law, order and peace. It would include a wide amnesty and the “cre­ation of the con­di­tions for early local elec­tions” — part of efforts to reform Ukraine’s local administrations.

    Keep in mind that Poroshenko is also call­ing for direct US mil­i­tary aid under a “lend-lease” arrange­ment and demands a return of Crimea, so it’s pretty clear that Poroshenko is prepar­ing to use exten­sive armed force against both Ukrain­ian sep­a­ratists and, poten­tially, Russ­ian forces in Crimea so WWIII isn’t exactly out of the ques­tion in terms of Poroshenko’s stated goals. And he’s the rel­a­tive mod­er­ate in this situation.

    So will Svoboda’s calls for mar­tial law pre­vail when the National Secu­rity and Defense Coun­cil meets this Sat­ur­day? We’ll see. But it raises the ques­tion of how much longer Svo­boda is going to be con­trol­ling the National Secu­rity and Defense Coun­cil. Will it still be a Svoboda-controlled insti­tu­tion under Poroshenko’s rule? That’s unclear from the report­ing, so we’ll have to wait and see about that too.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 4, 2014, 5:08 pm
  2. One of the rea­sons the fog of war is so dis­ori­ent­ing is that it involves a lot noise and a lot of silence:

    The Nation
    The Silence of Amer­i­can Hawks About Kiev’s Atrocities

    The regime has repeat­edly car­ried out artillery and air attacks on city cen­ters, cre­at­ing a human­i­tar­ian catastrophe—which is all but ignored by the US political-media estab­lish­ment.
    Stephen F. Cohen
    June 30, 2014

    For weeks, the US-backed regime in Kiev has been com­mit­ting atroc­i­ties against its own cit­i­zens in south­east­ern Ukraine, regions heav­ily pop­u­lated by Russian-speaking Ukraini­ans and eth­nic Rus­sians. While vic­tim­iz­ing a grow­ing num­ber of inno­cent peo­ple, includ­ing chil­dren, and degrad­ing America’s rep­u­ta­tion, these mil­i­tary assaults on cities, cap­tured on video, are gen­er­at­ing pres­sure in Rus­sia on Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to “save our compatriots.”

    The reac­tion of the Obama administration—as well as the new cold-war hawks in Con­gress and in the estab­lish­ment media—has been twofold: silence inter­rupted only by occa­sional state­ments excus­ing and thus encour­ag­ing more atroc­i­ties by Kiev. Very few Amer­i­cans (notably, the inde­pen­dent scholar Gor­don Hahn) have protested this shame­ful com­plic­ity. We may hon­or­ably dis­agree about the causes and res­o­lu­tion of the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, the worst US-Russian con­fronta­tion in decades, but not about deeds that are ris­ing to the level of war crimes, if they have not already done so.

    * * *

    In mid-April, the new Kiev gov­ern­ment, pre­dom­i­nantly west­ern Ukrain­ian in com­po­si­tion and out­look, declared an “anti-terrorist oper­a­tion” against a grow­ing polit­i­cal rebel­lion in the South­east. At that time, the rebels were mostly mim­ic­k­ing the ini­tial Maidan protests in Kiev in 2013—demonstrating, issu­ing defi­ant procla­ma­tions, occu­py­ing pub­lic build­ings and erect­ing defen­sive barricades—before Maidan turned rag­ingly vio­lent and, in Feb­ru­ary, over­threw Ukraine’s cor­rupt but legit­i­mately elected pres­i­dent, Vik­tor Yanukovych. (The entire Maidan episode, it will be recalled, had Washington’s enthu­si­as­tic polit­i­cal, and per­haps more tan­gi­ble, sup­port.) Indeed, the prece­dent for seiz­ing offi­cial build­ings and demand­ing the alle­giance of local author­i­ties had been set even ear­lier, in Jan­u­ary, in west­ern Ukraine—by pro-Maidan, anti-Yanukovych pro­test­ers, some declar­ing “inde­pen­dence” from his government.

    Con­sid­er­ing those pre­ced­ing events, but above all the country’s pro­found his­tor­i­cal divi­sions, par­tic­u­larly between its west­ern and east­ern regions—ethnic, lin­guis­tic, reli­gious, cul­tural, eco­nomic and political—the rebel­lion in the south­east, cen­tered in the indus­trial Don­bass, was not sur­pris­ing. Nor were its protests against the uncon­sti­tu­tional way (in effect, a coup) the new gov­ern­ment had come to power, the southeast’s sud­den loss of effec­tive polit­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the cap­i­tal and the real prospect of offi­cial dis­crim­i­na­tion. But by declar­ing an “anti-terrorist oper­a­tion” against the new pro­test­ers, Kiev sig­naled its inten­tion to “destroy” them, not nego­ti­ate with them.

    On May 2, in this incen­di­ary atmos­phere, a hor­rific event occurred in the south­ern city of Odessa, awak­en­ing mem­o­ries of Nazi Ger­man exter­mi­na­tion squads in Ukraine and other Soviet republics dur­ing World War II. An orga­nized pro-Kiev mob chased pro­test­ers into a build­ing, set it on fire and tried to block the exits. Some forty peo­ple, per­haps many more, per­ished in the flames or were mur­dered as they fled the inferno. A still unknown num­ber of other vic­tims were seri­ously injured.

    Mem­bers of the infa­mous Right Sec­tor, a far-right para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion ide­o­log­i­cally aligned with the ultra­na­tion­al­ist Svo­boda party, itself a con­stituent part of Kiev’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment, led the mob. Both are fre­quently char­ac­ter­ized by knowl­edge­able observers as “neo-fascist” move­ments. (Hate­ful eth­nic chants by the mob were audi­ble, and swastika-like sym­bols were found on the scorched build­ing.) Kiev alleged that the vic­tims had them­selves acci­den­tally started the fire, but eye­wit­nesses, tele­vi­sion footage and social media videos told the true story, as they have about sub­se­quent atrocities.

    Instead of inter­pret­ing the Odessa mas­sacre as an imper­a­tive for restraint, Kiev inten­si­fied its “anti-terrorist oper­a­tion.” Since May, the regime has sent a grow­ing num­ber of armored per­son­nel car­ri­ers, tanks, artillery, heli­copter gun­ships and war­planes to south­east­ern cities, among them, Slovyansk (Slavyansk in Russ­ian), Mar­i­upol, Kras­noarmeisk, Kram­a­torsk, Donetsk and Luhansk (Lugansk in Russ­ian). When its reg­u­lar mil­i­tary units and local police forces turned out to be less than effec­tive, will­ing or loyal, Kiev hastily mobi­lized Right Sec­tor and other rad­i­cal nation­al­ist mili­tias respon­si­ble for much of the vio­lence at Maidan into a National Guard to accom­pany reg­u­lar detachments—partly to rein­force them, partly, it seems, to enforce Kiev’s com­mands. Zeal­ous, barely trained and drawn mostly from cen­tral and west­ern regions, Kiev’s new recruits have report­edly esca­lated the eth­nic war­fare and killing of inno­cent civil­ians. (Episodes described as “mas­sacres” soon also occurred in Mar­i­upol and Kramatorsk.)

    Ini­tially, the “anti-terrorist” cam­paign was lim­ited pri­mar­ily, though not only, to rebel check­points on the out­skirts of cities. Since May, how­ever, Kiev has repeat­edly car­ried out artillery and air attacks on city cen­ters that have struck res­i­den­tial build­ings, shop­ping malls, parks, schools, kinder­gartens and hos­pi­tals, par­tic­u­larly in Slovyansk and Luhansk. More and more urban areas, neigh­bor­ing towns and even vil­lages now look and sound like war zones, with tell­tale rub­ble, destroyed and pock­marked build­ings, man­gled vehi­cles, the dead and wounded in streets, wail­ing mourn­ers and cry­ing chil­dren. Con­flict­ing infor­ma­tion from Kiev, local resis­tance lead­ers and Moscow make it impos­si­ble to esti­mate the num­ber of dead and wounded noncombatants—certainly hun­dreds. The num­ber con­tin­ues to grow due also to Kiev’s block­ade of cities where essen­tial med­i­cines, food, water, fuel and elec­tric­ity are scarce, and where wages and pen­sions are often no longer being paid. The result is an emerg­ing human­i­tar­ian catastrophe.

    Another effect is clear. Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” tac­tics have cre­ated a reign of ter­ror in the tar­geted cities. Pan­icked by shells and mor­tars explod­ing on the ground, men­ac­ing heli­copters and planes fly­ing above and fear of what may come next, fam­i­lies are seek­ing sanc­tu­ary in base­ments and other dark­ened shel­ters. Even The New York Times, which like the main­stream Amer­i­can media gen­er­ally has deleted the atroc­i­ties from its cov­er­age, described sur­vivors in Slovyansk “as if liv­ing in the Mid­dle Ages.” Mean­while, an ever-growing num­ber of refugees, dis­pro­por­tion­ately women and trau­ma­tized chil­dren, have been flee­ing across the bor­der into Rus­sia. In late June, the UN esti­mated that as many as 110,000 Ukraini­ans had already fled to Rus­sia and about half that many to other Ukrain­ian sanctuaries.

    It is true, of course, that anti-Kiev rebels in these regions are increas­ingly well-armed (though lack­ing the government’s arse­nal of heavy and air­borne weapons), orga­nized and aggres­sive, no doubt with some Russ­ian assis­tance, whether offi­cially sanc­tioned or not. But call­ing them­selves “self-defense” fight­ers is not wrong. They did not begin the com­bat; their land is being invaded and assaulted by a gov­ern­ment whose polit­i­cal legit­i­macy is arguably no greater than their own, two of their large regions hav­ing voted over­whelm­ingly for auton­omy ref­er­enda; and, unlike actual ter­ror­ists, they have not com­mit­ted acts of war out­side their own com­mu­ni­ties. The French adage sug­gested by an Amer­i­can observer seems applic­a­ble: “This ani­mal is very dan­ger­ous. If attacked, it defends itself.”

    * * *

    Among the cru­cial ques­tions rarely dis­cussed in the US political-media estab­lish­ment: What is the role of the “neo-fascist” fac­tor in Kiev’s “anti-terrorist” ide­ol­ogy and mil­i­tary oper­a­tions? Putin’s posi­tion, at least until recently—that the entire Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment is a “neo-fascist junta”—is incor­rect. Many mem­bers of the rul­ing coali­tion and its par­lia­men­tary major­ity are aspir­ing European-style democ­rats or mod­er­ate nation­al­ists. This may also be true of Ukraine’s newly elected pres­i­dent, the oli­garch Petro Poroshenko. Equally untrue, how­ever, are claims by Kiev’s Amer­i­can apol­o­gists, includ­ing even some aca­d­e­mics and lib­eral intel­lec­tu­als, that Ukraine’s neo-fascists—or per­haps quasi-fascists—are merely agi­tated nation­al­ists, “garden-variety Euro-populists,” a “dis­trac­tion” or lack enough pop­u­lar sup­port to be significant.

    Inde­pen­dent West­ern schol­ars have doc­u­mented the fas­cist ori­gins, con­tem­po­rary ide­ol­ogy and declar­a­tive sym­bols of Svo­boda and its fellow-traveling Right Sec­tor. Both move­ments glo­rify Ukraine’s mur­der­ous Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors in World War II as inspi­ra­tional ances­tors. Both, to quote Svoboda’s leader Oleh Tyah­ny­bok, call for an eth­ni­cally pure nation purged of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum,” includ­ing homo­sex­u­als, fem­i­nists and polit­i­cal left­ists. And both hailed the Odessa mas­sacre. Accord­ing to the web­site of Right Sec­tor leader Dmytro Yarosh, it was “another bright day in our national his­tory.” A Svo­boda par­lia­men­tary deputy added, “Bravo, Odessa…. Let the Dev­ils burn in hell.” If more evi­dence is needed, in Decem­ber 2012, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment decried Svoboda’s “racist, anti-Semitic and xeno­pho­bic views [that] go against the EU’s fun­da­men­tal val­ues and prin­ci­ples.” In 2013, the World Jew­ish Con­gress denounced Svo­boda as “neo-Nazi.” Still worse, observers agree that Right Sec­tor is even more extremist.

    Nor do elec­toral results tell the story. Tyah­ny­bok and Yarosh together received less than 2 per­cent of the June pres­i­den­tial vote, but his­to­ri­ans know that in trau­matic times, when, to recall Yeats, “the cen­ter can­not hold,” small, deter­mined move­ments can seize the moment, as did Lenin’s Bol­she­viks and Hitler’s Nazis. Indeed, Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor already com­mand power and influ­ence far exceed­ing their pop­u­lar vote. “Mod­er­ates” in the US-backed Kiev gov­ern­ment, obliged to both move­ments for their violence-driven ascent to power, and per­haps for their per­sonal safety, rewarded Svo­boda and Right Sec­tor with some five to eight (depend­ing on shift­ing affil­i­a­tions) top min­istry posi­tions, includ­ing ones over­see­ing national secu­rity, mil­i­tary, pros­e­cu­to­r­ial and edu­ca­tional affairs. Still more, accord­ing to the research of Pietro Shakar­ian, a remark­able young grad­u­ate stu­dent at the Uni­ver­sity of Michi­gan, Svo­boda was given five gov­er­nor­ships, cov­er­ing about 20 per­cent of the coun­try. And this does not take into account the role of Right Sec­tor in the “anti-terrorist operation.”

    Nor does it con­sider the polit­i­cal main­stream­ing of fascism’s dehu­man­iz­ing ethos. In Decem­ber 2012, a Svo­boda par­lia­men­tary leader anath­e­ma­tized the Ukrainian-born Amer­i­can actress Mila Kunis as “a dirty kike.” Since 2013, pro-Kiev mobs and mili­tias have rou­tinely den­i­grated eth­nic Rus­sians as insects (“Col­orado bee­tles,” whose col­ors resem­ble a sacred Rus­sia orna­ment). More recently, the US-picked prime min­is­ter, Arseniy Yat­senyuk, referred to resisters in the South­east as “sub­hu­mans.” His defense min­is­ter pro­posed putting them in “fil­tra­tion camps,” pend­ing depor­ta­tion, and rais­ing fears of eth­nic cleans­ing. Yulia Tymoshenko—a for­mer prime min­is­ter, tit­u­lar head of Yatsenyuk’s party and runner-up in the May pres­i­den­tial election—was over­heard wish­ing she could “exter­mi­nate them all [Ukrain­ian Rus­sians] with atomic weapons.” “Ster­il­iza­tion” is among the less apoc­a­lyp­tic offi­cial mus­ings on the pur­suit of a puri­fied Ukraine.

    Con­fronted with such facts, Kiev’s Amer­i­can apol­o­gists have con­jured up another ratio­nal­iza­tion. Any neo-fascists in Ukraine, they assure us, are far less dan­ger­ous than Putinism’s “clear aspects of fas­cism.” The alle­ga­tion is unwor­thy of seri­ous analy­sis: how­ever author­i­tar­ian Putin may be, there is noth­ing authen­ti­cally fas­cist in his ruler­ship, poli­cies, state ide­ol­ogy or per­sonal conduct.

    Indeed, equat­ing Putin with Hitler, as emi­nent Amer­i­cans from Hillary Clin­ton and Zbig­niew Brzezin­ski to George Will have done, is another exam­ple of how our new cold war­riors are reck­lessly dam­ag­ing US national secu­rity in vital areas where Putin’s coop­er­a­tion is essen­tial. Look­ing ahead, would-be pres­i­dents who make such remarks can hardly expect to be greeted by an open-minded Putin, whose brother died and father was wounded in the Soviet-Nazi war. More­over, tens of mil­lions of today’s Rus­sians whose fam­ily mem­bers were killed by actual fas­cists in that war will regard this defama­tion of their pop­u­lar pres­i­dent as sac­ri­lege, as they do the atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted by Kiev.

    ...

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 3, 2014, 6:34 pm

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